The Sonoran pronghorn is native to the Sonoran desert. Hence the name. They prefer arroyos, creosote scrub bajadas, desert washes, and grassland steppe. These endangered animals were extirpated from their range in California in 1950 due to hunting, drought, and loss of habitat. Another name for these rare creatures is “desert ghost”, since they are so hard to find and seem to almost disappear at the first hint of danger.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Antilocapra americana sonoriensis
Weight: Up to 130 lbs.
Length: Up to 57 inches
Height: Up to 36 inches, at the shoulder
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Now on to the Facts!
2.) Only about 180 of these critters currently are believed to exist in the United States with an additional 240 in Sonoran Mexico. These numbers are up from an approximated 21 individuals in 2002!
3.) Both males and females have similar patterns and both have horns. The male’s horns can reach up to 12 inches.
4.) With eyes located high on their head and excellent eyesight, these pronghorns can spot predators stationed miles away!
5.) Pronghorns have a 4-chambered stomach, like cows, that allows them to digest a variety of desert vegetation which makes up most of their herbivorous (eats only plant matter) diet. As desert vegetation dries up in summer, water becomes very important for digestive purposes so pronghorns depend on cholla fruits as a source of moisture.
But wait, there’s more on the Sonoran pronghorn!
6.) Females can breed at 16 months of age and males at 1 year.
7.) When food is abundant females (or does) can deliver twins. Typically though they give birth to a single fawn.
Did you know…?
The Sonoran pronghorn can run at speeds of up to 60 mph! Pronghorns don’t jump, so they rely on speed to evade predation.
8.) Fawns can stand not long after birth, but remain in a laying position, hidden in the grasses and shrubs. Did you know that the fawns don’t emit any smell? This helps keep them hidden from would-be predators.
9.) They are also called prong bucks, pronghorn antelopes, and American antelopes.
10.) Due to the grazing practices of livestock, the constructions of new roads, fence and barriers being built throughout their habitat, a lack of food and water, and illegal hunting (primarily in Mexico), these critters have declined in numbers. But they are still listed as Least Concern.
Now a Short Sonoran Pronghorn Video!
Also, check out the Critter Science YouTube channel. Videos added frequently!
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