Fun Friday: 6 Things You Didn't Know About Pronghorn Antelopes

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posted on June 19, 2020
pronghorn.jpg

They're a little goofy-looking, but if you blink you'll miss 'em...so we're here to catch you up with six things you didn't know about America's fastest land animal.

1. When you think of a speedy animal, you're probably thinking in terms of Africa: the cheetah, the Thompson's gazelle. But here in North America, the pronghorn antelope is the hands-down speed winner: It can run up to 60 mph and maintain that speed for a longer period of time than a cheetah.

2. Pronghorns hold the record for the longest land migration in the continental United States. Starting in November, large herds of pronghorns make a grueling 150-mile trek from Grand Teton National Park to the Upper Green River Valley in Wyoming. In April, they will reverse their route and head back north. It's a dangerous obstacle course, as the animals must cross many roads, through private property and ranches.

3. The pronghorn's slightly goofy appearance is due to some interesting survival traits. The pronghorn has extra-long hair on its rump, which sticks up in a way that's a bit amusing to watch when it senses danger. Large, sideways-facing eyes give it a 270-degree field of view so it can spot predators in the flat grassland habitat it calls home.

4. While they've certainly earned the nickname "speed goats," they're actually not related to deer or goats. In fact, they are the only surviving member of a family called Antilocapridae. Their closest living relative is the giraffe.

5. The standout characteristic of pronghorns is its horns! (And they are true horns, not antlers.) Both males and females have them. Females' horns are much shorter than males', which usually grow to around 10 or 12 inches high. The horns point backwards and have a small notch, or prong, at the top that points forwards.

6.  Pronghorns seldom drink water, because they fill most of their hydration needs with the plants they eat. 

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