Back     Other Great Pictures

Pronghorn - Chevelon Canyon Ranch

Pronghorn, a familiar sight within the ranch area. If you haven't seen them yet be sure and look for them the next time you are here. These exotic animals appear to be more African than American and indeed when driving through the ranch there are times you will be thinking of the serene resemblance to the African planes (well somewhat like them). The Pronghorn view most of us are familiar with is their white backsides disappearing into the distance, however there will be times you may encounter a closer view.

Did You Know?: Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae. The subspecies known as the Sonoran Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) are the ones that live out in the ranch area. Pronghorn is built for maximum predator evasion through running and is the fastest mammal in North America; its speed is surpassed only by that of the cheetah. It can sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs, however. The top recorded speed was 61 mph (98 km/h). The Pronghorn, although built for speed with an oversized heart and lungs, is a very poor jumper. Their ranges are often affected by sheep ranchers' fence. However, they can be seen going under fences. For this reason the Arizona Antelope Foundation and others are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences, and/or installing a barbless bottom wire (One reason the ranch CC&R's include a thirty foot easement between properties).

The Pronghorn sports a very large set of eyes that are said to be the equivalent of 8X binoculars, and have a 270 degree field of vision.

Male Pronghorns have horns about 5 to 17 in (125 to 430 mm) long with a prong. Females also grow horns, though these are relatively small, ranging from 1 to 6 in (25 to 150 mm), and sometimes barely visible; they are straight rather than pronged. Both the males' and the females' horns are made up of a hairlike substance that grows around a bony core; the outer sheath is shed annually (they always have their horns).

Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a scent gland located on the sides of the head. Pronghorns are commonly called "Prairie Goats", "Speed Goats", or simply "goats" for this reason (as well as their resemblance to domesticated goats.)

Pronghorns have a longer gestation period than is typical for North American hoofed animals. They breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May. Pronghorn newborns weigh 5 to 9 lb (2 to 4 kg). Adult male Pronghorns weigh 100 to 145 lb (45 to 60 kg) while females weigh 75 to 100 lb (35 to 45 kg).

Notes: By 1908, hunting pressure had reduced the western states Pronghorn population to about 20,000. Protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed them to recover to 500,000 Pronghorns. The Sonoran Pronghorn (the ones in and around our ranch area) are a Pronghorn subspecies and are considered endangered but recovering, only 2 hunting tags were issued last year within our local state hunting section. Pronghorn is widely hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food, as its meat is rich and lean.

The Pronghorn is also known as the Pronghorn antelope, but is not a true antelope. These animals are the "antelope" known from western movies and songs.