Friday, October 3, 2014

American Pronghorn - South Dakota

The pronghorn, also known as the pronghorn antelope, is not a true antelope. There are five subspecies: (1) the Oregon pronghorn, found in a small area near the border of Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada; (2) the Sonoran pronghorn found in southern Arizona and the Sonora province of Mexico; (3) the Mexican pronghorn found in the Mexican provinces of Chihuahua and Coahuila; (4) the peninsular pronghorn, also called the Baja California pronghorn, found in Baja California, Mexico; and (4) the American pronghorn found in the Great Plains. 
Pronghorn in Custer State Park, South Dakota, near the Oak Draw Road.
A closer view of the same male. Note the black on the neck which is not present on a female and also substantially more black on the nozzle than on a female.  
A female in the same area. Note the white forehead which is missing on the male. The male has substantially more black on the face. 
Frontal view of the male. Missing the white on the forehead that the female has.
I've previously posted on the pronghorn, but in our recent visit to Custer State Park and Buffalo Gap National Grassland in South Dakota we had the best exposure to pronghorns I've ever had. The pronghorn is the second fastest animal in the world, second only to the cheetah. However, it can sustain high speeds far longer than the cheetah. The pronghorn can run 35 mph for 4 miles, 42 mph for 1 mile and 55 mph for a half mile.
Females in Custer State Park.

I love the white on the throat and face. Note the teats between the hind legs.

The pronghorn has white fur on the rump, side, breast, belly and across the throat. The horn is a blade of bone that grows from the skull that forms a permanent core. Skin that covers the core develops a keratinous sheath which sheds each year and is regrown. The horns are branched with a forward-pointing tine which gives it the name pronghorn. Females have horns, but they are often barely visible and only rarely have prongs. 
These pronghorn were in Buffalo Gap National Grassland outside Badlands National Park. Note the juvenile on the far right that has a reddish fluffy mane. 
This male was also in Buffalo Gap near the females above


  1. I'm surprised to read these are not true antelope and that they can run so fast. We have hundreds around our neighborhood, and they certainly seem to take their time crossing the road.

  2. When we were watching and photographing these, I didn't realize the color differences between the males and females were so dramatic. They are such stately animals, one of my favorite North American mammmals.