Badlands National Park – Pronghorn

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Not as easily to find as the prairie dogs and bison in Badlands National Park, so it was a thrill to get a quick sighting of pronghorn on Sage Creek Rim Road.

While we were stopped to watch bison in the distance on my husband’s side of the car, I turned to look out my window to find a male and two female pronghorn coming up a hill cautiously alongside my side of the car.  Right place right time!

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Male and two female pronghorn

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Pronghorn are found only in North America.  They are frequently called antelopes, but they are not nor related to the antelope.  The pronghorn is the only living member left of the family antilocapridae and is most closely related to the giraffe.

Pronghorn have horns, not antlers, hence their name.  The male’s horns are 12-20 inches long and curve in towards each other.  The female’s horns are usually straight, short spikes between 3-4 inches long.

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Female pronghorn beginning to run

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Pronghorn are the fastest land animal in North America, and the second-fastest land animal in the world, following the cheetah.

Pronghorn can run at speeds close to 60 miles an hour.  Although pronghorn are not as fast as cheetahs, they can maintain a fast speed for a longer period of time than cheetahs.

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Male pronghorn beginning to run

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After a short run, the three pronghorn stopped and looked around.  Feeling no threat from the five cars now sitting along the road watching them, the pronghorn continued their trek casually away from all of us and towards a herd of bison.

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Female pronghorn

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Pronghorn moving on, bison in the distance

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They were beautiful, and I truly felt lucky to see them!

More wildlife to come from Badlands National Park…..the rock-climbing Bighorn sheep!

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59 thoughts on “Badlands National Park – Pronghorn

  1. Amazing photos of these pronghorns! I once saw them in Grand Teton National Park. They crossed the road right in front of me, probably going at 60 MPH. By the time I brought the camera up, they were gone.

    • Thank you, Hien! Several years ago in Wyoming, we’ve had them do the same thing to us, a couple times in front of our motorhome. It was scary and then cool since they made it safely. And I did get a fuzzy photo through our big windshield one of those motorhome times, we saw them in advance and we were prepared both times to be able to slow down! 🙂

  2. Another good looking animal, for your album, Donna. They are really fast and you captured them very nicely. 🙂

  3. How great to have them come so close to your side of the car. And you, of course, were ready with your camera. Wonderful shots!

  4. What a wonderful close-up and long look at these Pronghorn!! I’ve seen them when photographing Wild Mustangs in California, but they tend to stay behind the horses and in the Bitterbush and are skittish so, seeing them this close would be a real treat!!

  5. Fabulous encounter and great series of images, Donna! The close ups are cool, seeing them trot, and that first image with them coming up the hill is really nice, showing the rolling hills in the background. What a vast space.

    • Thank you, Ellen! The pronghorn were one of the Badlands wildlife I did not expect to see, but was sure hoping! When we were on the unpaved Sage Creek Rim Rd, there wasn’t but a few cars total so that was a plus with this and the other great wildlife sightings. By the time we reversed our tracks and headed back out to the main road, the unpaved road was flooding with cars coming down it. I can imagine all the prairie dogs ran for cover too! 🙂

  6. Fantastic captures, Donna. I’ve never heard of Pronghorns before. I love the serendipity of those three beauties coming so close to the car at the perfect moment!

  7. You’re continuing to have great luck on this trip! 🙂 I can see the pronghorn’s resemblance to a giraffe in the shape of its head and face. That’s amazing how fast they can run. Great pictures of a very beautiful animal, Donna!

    • Thank you, Barbara! 😁 I see the resemblance too in the face/head. They’re so pretty and sweet looking. I was glad the few cars by us were all stopped and no one was out of their car. Or the pronghorn would have been a blur in my shots!

  8. Great shots of a beautiful animal Donna. How lucky you were to have these beauties up close to the car too! And thanks for the interesting info about them. 🙂

    • I see the giraffe in the head too, and the colors. 🙂 I’ve seen pronghorn run in past years, they are fast. Not able to hide from predators, it’s their only defense. RUN!

  9. Another animal I have never heard or seen of, thanks for sharing Donna. As such a fast runner that is a great asset for escaping predators. Love there pure white posteriors. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Badlands National Park – Bighorn Sheep | Photos by Donna

  11. They are really cool animals! We just saw some near The Great Sand Dunes. When I was in the Badlands we watched a baby running circles around mom just for the shear joy of running! It was so cute. great shots and post!

    • Thank you, Denise! I love their striking color pattern, and this encounter was a real thrill, won’t forget it for sure! Oh, to see a baby being playful would be the best. All babies melt my heart. 😊

  12. Wonderfully captured photos! This was an informative post, as living in South East Asia, I’ve never heard of this North American Native “Pronghorn” before. The photos are divine and the pronghorn seems to have in its eyes a characteristic innocence and warmth.

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