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Pronghorn Antelope Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

The pronghorn is a hoofed mammal that lives in North America, and has a special talent. What is it, and what are some other facts about this animal? Read on to learn more.

Amazing Runners

Can you think of an animal that can run really fast? If you're imagining a cheetah, you are indeed thinking of the fastest land mammal on Earth. But did you know that there is another animal that can run almost as fast, and for longer distances?

A pronghorn, the all-star runner of North America
pronghorn

It is the pronghorn antelope, and you may be surprised to hear that this deer-like animal is the fastest land mammal in North America. It's such a great runner, it could easily beat a cheetah in a long-distance race. It's also not actually an antelope. What are some more facts about the unique pronghorn? Keep reading to find out.

Description of a Pronghorn

If it were named after its scientific name, the pronghorn should have been called a ''goatelope.'' That's because its scientific name, Antilocapra americana, means ''American goat-antelope.'' However, the pronghorn is neither goat nor antelope, despite somewhat resembling both. This animal truly belongs in a family of its own.

The pronghorn is an ungulate, which means it is a hoofed mammal. It's about the size of a deer and has a similar body shape. Its long, thin legs are great for running, and it has tan coloring on its back, with a white underside and white bands around its neck. With black markings on its head, big eyes and long lashes, the pronghorn is quite the handsome creature!

The unique markings and horns of a male pronghorn
pronghorn

The pronghorn is named after its horns, as you may have guessed. They are quite different from the antlers of a deer, looking more like the horns of a goat. These dark horns are curved backward, with a hooked appearance. Males' horns have a prong sticking out, while the horns of most females do not.

Where Does the Pronghorn Live?

The pronghorn is only found in North America. It lives in the grasslands and prairies, ranging from parts of Canada through the Great Plains of the U.S. and all the way down into Mexico. An herbivore, it only eats plants. Some favorite meals of the pronghorn include scrubby sagebrush, grasses and even cactus.

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