The fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere can run at speeds of up to 89 km/h (55 mph)

Thomas Wolf



The fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere can run at speeds of up to 89 km/h (55 mph)

Population 1,100,000
99% decline in the latter part of 19th century

Often referred to as the “speedsters of the prairie,” they are remarkable creatures with a storied evolutionary history and unique adaptations that set them apart in the animal kingdom. While their sleek, deer-like appearance might deceive some into mistaking them for their distant relatives, the antelopes and pronghorns boast a distinct lineage and a set of characteristics that make them truly exceptional.

One of the most intriguing aspects of pronghorns is their evolutionary legacy. These agile creatures have a fascinating past, having evolved alongside now-extinct predators like the American cheetah. Through millennia of natural selection, pronghorns developed remarkable speed as a survival strategy, enabling them to outpace their ancient predators and thrive in the vast prairie landscapes of North America.

Unlike many other hoofed mammals, pronghorns belong to a unique family known as Antilocapridae, with only a single extant species, the pronghorn itself. This distinction underscores their singular evolutionary path and highlights their distinctiveness within the animal kingdom.

One of the most distinctive features of pronghorns is their branched horns, a characteristic unique among ungulates. Unlike the antlers found in deer species, which are shed and regrown annually, pronghorns shed their horns each year, with the outer sheath falling away in the autumn and regrowing in the summer. This cyclical process of horn shedding and regrowth is a testament to the pronghorn’s remarkable adaptability and resilience.

Pronghorns are also renowned for their incredible speed and agility, traits that have been honed over millions of years of evolution. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour), pronghorns are among the fastest land mammals on the planet. This remarkable athleticism allows them to evade predators and cover vast distances across the open plains with ease.


Population est.
Possibly Extinct: Manitoba
Saskatchewan, Alberta
Baja California, Sonora, Hidalgo
United States
Possibly Extinct

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No