Photo: A pronghorn

Both male and female pronghorns have characteristic two-pointed horns, which are composed of keratin growing over a bony center; the hair-like part of the horn sheds annually.

Photograph by Sam Abell

Map

Map: Pronghorns range

Pronghorn Range

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Fast Facts

Type:
Mammal
Diet:
Herbivore
Average life span in captivity:
11 years
Size:
Head and body, 3.25 to 5 ft (1 to 1.5 m), Tail, 3 to 4 in (7.5 to 10 cm)
Weight:
90 to 150 lbs (41 to 68 kg)
Group name:
Band or Herd
Did you know?
The pronghorn is the second fastest land mammal in the world, after the cheetah. It can attain speeds of over 53 miles (86 kilometers) per hour.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Antelope compared with adult man

Fleet-footed pronghorns are among the speediest animals in North America. They can run at more than 53 miles (86 kilometers) an hour, leaving pursuing coyotes and bobcats in the dust. Pronghorns are also great distance runners that can travel for miles at half that speed.

Pronghorns are about three feet (one meter) tall at the shoulders. They are reddish brown, but feature white stomachs and wide, white stripes on their throats. When startled they raise the hair on their rumps to display a white warning patch that can be seen for miles.

Both sexes sport impressive, backward-curving horns. The horns split to form forward-pointing prongs that give the species its name. Some animals have horns that are more than a foot (30 centimeters) long.

Like other even-toed hoofed animals, pronghorns chew cud—their own partially digested food. The meal of choice for this speedy herbivore is generally grass, sagebrush, and other vegetation.

Pronghorns mate each fall in the dry, open lands of western North America. Bucks gather harems of females and protect them jealously—sometimes battling rivals in spectacular and dangerous fights. In the spring, females give birth to one or two young, which can outrun a human after just a few days.

Pronghorns are hunted throughout much of their natural range, but some subspecies are endangered.

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