Pronghorn Definition | Characteristics & Facts



Pronghorn Definition

The pronghorn, also known as the American antelope, is a species of artiodactyl mammal native to North America. It is not actually an antelope, but it is often referred to as such due to its similar appearance and behavior.

Pronghorn General Characteristics & Facts

Pronghorns have several unique characteristics and interesting facts:


Pronghorns are incredibly fast runners, capable of reaching speeds up to 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour).


Pronghorns have evolved specialized features, including large eyes with a 320-degree field of vision and keen hearing, to detect predators and danger from a distance.

Social Behavior

They are social animals and often form loose herds, especially during migration and winter.

Physical Appearance

Pronghorns have tan or reddish-brown fur on their back and sides, with a white underbelly. They have distinctive white markings on their face and throat, and both males and females have branched, forward-curving horns, making them the only horned animal in the world where females also possess horns.

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Physical Characteristics of Pronghorn

Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana) have several distinctive physical characteristics that set them apart from other North American mammals:

  1. Size: Pronghorns are medium-sized mammals with a body length of 3 to 5.3 feet (90 to 160 centimeters) and a shoulder height of around 3 to 3.5 feet (90 to 105 centimeters).
  2. Weight: Adult pronghorns typically weigh between 90 to 140 pounds (40 to 63 kilograms).
  3. Fur: They have a soft and dense coat of fur that is short and coarse. The coloration is tan or reddish-brown on the back and sides, blending into white on the underbelly.
  4. White Markings: Pronghorns have distinct white markings on their face, throat, chest, and rump. A characteristic white band extends from the eyes to the muzzle, and a white patch covers the throat.
  5. Horns: Both males and females have horns, but the males’ horns are more prominent. The horns are made of a bony core covered with a sheath of keratin, similar to the structure of antlers in deer. The horns are branched, with a forward curve, and can reach lengths of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in males and are smaller in females.
  6. Eyes: They have large, expressive eyes with excellent vision, enabling them to detect predators from far distances.
  7. Adaptations for Speed: Pronghorns are built for speed. They have slender legs with two large hooves on each foot, allowing them to run at incredibly fast speeds for long distances. Their specialized cardiovascular and respiratory systems enable them to maintain high speeds for extended periods.

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Scientific Classification of Pronghorn

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Antilocapridae

Genus: Antilocapra

Species: Antilocapra american

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Pronghorn FAQs

What does Pronghorn?

Pronghorn primarily eat a variety of plants. Their diet includes:

  • Grasses
  • Forbs
  • Leaves
  • Cacti
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