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Pronghorn


About the Pronghorn

Fleet-footed pronghorns are among the speediest animals in North America. They can run at more than 53 miles 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.

Coloring and Appearance

Pronghorns are about three feet 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.

Distinctive Horns

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 long.

Diet

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.

Mating and Reproduction

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.


WATCH: A Rare Look at an Incredible Animal Migration

At just 30 years old, National Geographic photographer Joe Riis has devoted his life to documenting—for the first time—the Grand Teton pronghorn migrations in the American West. His work has helped to create corridors and road crossings that allow these animals the freedom to move as they have for thousands of years.