Thursday, April 12, 2007

Male pronghorn have distinctive markings

Do female antelope have horns? We have several antelope wandering around on our 40 acres and can’t tell males from females.
- Milly Fix, Ellicott

ANSWER: What you're seeing are pronghorn and there is an easy way you can tell the bucks and does apart, aside from looking under the chassis, according to Mike Seraphin of the Division of Wildlife. Both males and females are a light reddish brown or tan with white bands on the throat but the males have black jaw patches on the side of the cheek, close to the neck.

Both the male and female pronghorns have horns, Seraphin said. The bucks have longer horns with the prong that inspired the name. Seraphin said that the horns on pronghorn and big horn sheep never fall off, they just continue to grow even though the outer sheath will sluff off. This is unlike members of the deer family, whose males are the only ones with antlers, which fall off once a year.

An interesting tidbit: when the hairs on the rump of pronghorn stick up in a patch, they’re warning the herd of potential danger such as their main predators — coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles and passing cars.

2 Comments:

Anonymous zen said...

It should also be noted that the pronghorn is not a true antelope.

True antelopes are members of the bovidae family and are native to Eurasia and Africa. There are no true native antelope in the Americas.

Well known true antelope members include the gazelle and wildebeest.

The pronghorn is the lone member of his scientific family - Antilocaprae. The full scientific name is Antilocaprae americana, which literally translates as "American goat-antelope."

But again scientifically speaking, the pronghorn stands alone and is not a true antelope.

4:56 PM, May 07, 2007  
Blogger Troy Mac said...

Also should be noted that caribou are part of the deer family and both male and female caribou have antlers that are shed each winter.

8:52 AM, March 17, 2011  

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