Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana
The pronghorn is a unique North American mammal. Its Latin name, Antilocapra americana, means "American goat-antelope," but it is not a member of the goat or the antelope family and it is not related to the antelopes found in Africa. The pronghorn is the only surviving member of the Antilocapridae family and it has been in North America for over a million years!
The pronghorn can be found in southeastern Oregon; southern Idaho; southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada; Montana; and western North Dakota south to Arizona and western Texas.
The pronghorn lives in grasslands, brushlands, and deserts. The pronghorn lives in herds that change in size depending on the season. In the summer, females and their young will gather in bands of less than a dozen individuals. Young males less than two years old form bachelor herds. Breeding males establish individual territories. In the winter, the herd will include males and females and can include hundreds of pronghorns. The pronghorn migrates from a summer feeding ground to a winter feeding ground.
In the southern part of their range, pronghorns mate in the late summer. In the northern part of their range, they mate in the early fall. Males will fight over females. A male may mate with more than one female. The female gives birth to one to two fawns in late May or early June.
The fawns are almost odorless at birth. This helps protect them from predators. They will stay hidden in the grass for the first few days. Their mother will graze away from where she has hidden her fawns so that she doesn't attract predators to where they are hidden. The fawns join the herd when they are about a week old, and they begin grazing when they are three weeks old. They can run faster than a human when they are just four days old!
The pronghorn is the fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere. It can run at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, and it can run long distances at speeds of 30-40 miles per hour. It can make bounds of up to 20 feet when it is running. When the pronghorn runs, its mouth is open so it can breath in extra oxygen. Speed is important because the pronghorn lives in open areas, and there is no place to hide from a predator! It has to be able to run away!
Video Credit: US Fish and Wildlife
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spenser