Fastest Four Legs in America~

Everyone knows the fastest land animal in the world is the cheetah, but not everyone knows the second fastest animal in the world is the North American Pronghorn Antelope. Pronghorns can run up to 55 mph for .5 miles. They can run 35 mph for up to 4 miles. In fact, they can run at high speeds for more sustained periods than African Cheetahs.

This is a puzzling ability because no predator in North America can run fast enough to catch a pronghorn, so why is it necessary for pronghorns to run this fast?
Biologists believe that pronghorns evolved to run these speeds in order to evade the now extinct American Cheetah.

During the Pleistocene era, there were twelve species of pronghorns in North America. By the time humans settled on the continent there were five.

We are now left with one remaining species. Pronghorns are in fact not antelopes at all but a unique species named Antilocapra Americana. Handsome creatures aren’t they?

Pronghorns range all over the American west, into Canada and northern Mexico.
They have the longest land migration of any species in the continental US.
They migrate 300 miles roundtrip, between Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin,
and Grand Teton National Park.
Cheers to you from the fascinating Antilocapra Americana~

271 thoughts on “Fastest Four Legs in America~

  1. Like these pictures, the North American Pronghorn Antelope are very beautiful. They must be good citizens too, for they don’t run faster than the typical speed limit of a two-lane highway – 55 mph… lol! πŸ™‚

    1. I could have said they evolved to race north american automobiles but it probably isn’t true! But who knows? No one drives much faster than 55mph and winding national park roads! πŸ˜‰

  2. What a gorgeous animal….I especially like the markings. But we’ll have to change the song:
    O give me a home
    where the buffalo roam
    where the deer and
    the almost-antelope play…..

  3. Thanks for lots of cool facts that I never knew before with some beautiful pronghorn pics. That mirrored shot with the mountain and lake is gorgeous! I love armchair traveling with you! πŸ™‚

  4. Cindy, you would make such a great nature documentary narrator! You sure know how to pair images and information in a way that makes learning facts fun and memorable! What incredibly beautiful creatures. So sad that we’re down to one pronghorn species. ~Lynn

    1. You are such a good friend Lynn. I know from 12 species to 1. This leaves us no room for error with the remaining pronghorns. Plus, can you even imagine a north american cheetah???? That really gets my imagination going!

      1. Yeah, I know! I just looked up pronghorns and the North American cheetah to see if there are any good approximations to what they looked like from what scientists can put together. However, nothing beats the real thing of course.

    1. I know, it’s not fair about the calories, plus they only eat grass. I like to eat mud pie. If I ran 35mph for 4 miles everyday, maybe I could eat some mudpie everyday! Of course, I’ve have to be WILLING to run 4 miles everyday…….I’m not of course, so I just have to settle on eating grass.

      1. I make it in all these different iterations, about once every two months, when I can actually eat it! But I did just cheat and made two in a row. It was just for my son of course……. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  5. This is so cool, Cindy! I actually wrote a picture book story about how the pronghorn is not an antelope. My former agent got some interest in it but ultimately, it was never bought and might have to scrapped. I really love your photos!!

    1. Well that’s not right. What’s wrong with your former agent? Now wonder he/she is former! Pronghorns really are fascinating and little understood creatures. I want to read your picture book story!

      1. Well, in her defense, she tried as hard as she could to sell it. It is mostly the fault of the editors who passed on the story. Some day, when I get more desperate, I may even try to self-publish. It’s a funny story with good back matter. I believe in it. Thank you for the encouragement! xo

  6. That’s very interesting indeed, Cindy. I would have thought the second fastest animal would have been another big cat.

    Your landscape shots are stunning. Especially the first and second-last ones, took my breath away!

    1. It is always such a treat for me to hear from you Halim! Everytime I do, I pop over to your blog to make sure I am not missing anything, which I am going to do now! Be well my friend~

      1. I actually just google mapped this. LMAO! I couldn’t find it in Montana, although google maps put me in Glacier, so I almost responded to you incorrectly. Quelle Horror! But then I was thinking about Bullwinkle and remembered he lives in Minnesota. So no, I was not near Frosbite Falls Minnesota! I am home at The Holler now btw, but I just enjoyed the heck out of this whole episode! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

      1. Can’t you imagine the test:
        The pronghorn is not an antelope it is a:
        A. Tiger
        B. Pollywog
        C. Antilocapra Americana
        D. None of Above
        E. A & B
        These are the kinda classes, I took in college which is why I had such a high GPA!

    1. I feel exactly the same way. Blogs provide my principal source of information now and I feel much better informed than I did when I read mass media. Plus blogs cover the depth and the breadth of the entire world. I love blogs and bloggers!

  7. They say it (American) is more linked to cougar…very interesting reading about something I never knew about, including the fab Pronghorn. Love these type posts. Most good healthy animals will get away, predators need enough speed to get to the unhealthy, injured or young.

    1. Very true about predators and about cougars. I so wish I could get a photo of a cougar, but it is highly unlikely. One walked down the street once where I used to live, but I wasn’t there. They do something like this occasionally, but sightings are very rare. Best chance is with a critter cam.

  8. Now these were very interesting facts for sure Cindy and it’s such a gorgeous animal! I am glad it is able to outrun the Cheetah. Such a beautiful animal shouldn’t be eaten. They are handsome indeed and you took the most amazing shots of it. I love those beautiful rings around the neck. Absolutely adorable! πŸ˜€

    Wow! Those sights make me want to jump in and just go and sit by the lake. Hubby would definitely enjoy some flyfishing there for sure. Excellent captures Cindy! Thanks for sharing all this beauty. πŸ˜€

  9. Es muy interesante lo que nos cuentas del berrendo. Yo desconocΓ­a que fuese tan rΓ‘pido. Y, ademΓ‘s, es un animal bonito y elegante. Las fotos nos muestran un lugar paradisΓ­aco. πŸ˜‰

  10. Cindy, these are wonderful photos of this handsome fellow and his gorgeous habitat πŸ™‚ I’m assuming you used a pretty hefty zoom lens? Thanks for the lesson too. I love learning new things πŸ™‚

    1. These guys don’t require too much zoom, since they can run so fast, they let you get pretty close if you are quiet and slow. They always have a male guard and the flock just contentedly munches!

  11. Looks like that one Antelope is saying: “Hey are taking my picture???” πŸ™‚ I love the wonderful facts you include in your photographs! Beautiful animals!!! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  12. Again such stunning scenery ~ and you capture the heart of the antelope so well ~ you really do amaze me with some of the shots you are able to get. Brilliant πŸ™‚

  13. I always thought the Gazelle was the 2nd fastest land animal… next to the Cheetah. Was I mistaken? Lovely pics and great post as usual, Cindy. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah, I probably thought this too, but gazelles are not as fast as pronghorns. I guess the theory with the gazelles is numbers. There are so many thousands of them, that the majority survive.

      1. Kim Novak [although I was too dense to know who she was and thought nothing to running all over in my VW with her when we lived in Monterey] had a large heard of llama. She introduced us to the loving nature of llamas and from there to alpacas. We kept 2 alpacas for a little over a year and it did wonders for Tom’s depression. They’d follow him everywhere [his little dog wasn’t amused but he got used to it]. Of course the move to DC meant no to the alpacas but I still think we could have hid them in our backyard:) Let’s face it – they make no noise and their poop doesn’t stink. We lived in an area with zero outside noise – – – from DC we went to Oregon and then N.C. so it would have worked out and I could be cuddling one right now!!! What wonderful memories you help me recall — I swear, you’ve become a therapist again through your photos. I’m sure you thought you’d left that field far behind with your fabulous life as a photographer. You have the ability to stir some of my strongest emotions with your photography but they are the good memories that have been dormant. I’d forgotten about the alpacas bringing us such joy in a time of such sadness. Thank you, my dear friend.

      2. Oh Sheri, you are such a lovely person. Yours sentiments moved my heart.
        The vegan grazers, giraffe, impala, deer, pronghorns, alpaca, etc., have these incredibly gentle, beautiful eyes. When you look in them you sense this gentleness of spirit that is intuitively calming and even spirtual to some humans. People who sense this and respond to it have gentle hearts, as you do Sheri, and does Tom. Animals sense this reponse in humans and respond with trust, which is why the alpacas followed Tom around. Even wild grazers do this. They are curious about humans whom they perceive as non-threatening and they let you get close. I am not at all suprised that you raised alpacas, or that you were friends with Kim Novak. She loves the wild creatures and can see in their hearts, which is why she wisely chose you for a friend. <3

  14. Oh, it is an amazing and magnificent creature! I never heard of it before.
    American Cheetah? When did they disappear? Never heard of that, either. I must be living in a cave somewhere.
    Cindy, your shot of the mountain reflected in the lake is marvelous!
    This is a special post, thank you!!!!

    1. You know I just found out this morning that I deleted 50% of the images in my posts, hence I deleted half my posts. Pffffffffst…….gone with a backstroke. I am working on Zen-ing myself right now. All is impermanent…..ommmmmmm. So thank you for saying this post is special and I didn’t even delete it!!! Whoooopeeeee!

      1. Eek! That is not a fun thing to happen!
        Cindy, I am ever paranoid about this kind of computer mishap.
        So, every 2 months I create an XML file.
        It is in the “Tools” section of your Dashboard.
        It says “Export Blog”& you export a copy of your entire blog onto your Desktop. It is in a Zip File. It does not disturb your blog….everything is still there.
        I copy the XML onto a USB stick, & hide another copy on my hard drive.
        Thanks for reminding me! It’s time to create an XML of my Art Gowns!

  15. Such a gorgeous creature! Your photos always make me marvel at the wonder of nature and your descriptions often remind me about the destructiveness of humankind (5 species down to one).

    1. Awwwww thank you. I deleted 50% of my blog photos today, hence 50% of my posts. Gone poooooof! Isn’t that clever of me? So I was feeling sorry for myself. Your comment cheered me up. Thank you!

      1. If done immediately, Ctrl Z will undo or restore what you just did. Youngest son told me this. I said it wasn’t working, after a few weeks. Ha! I was mashing Ctrl X. Guess what that does. For a few hours, sometimes more, some items are cached in the trash file, or the history files, and can be restored. A couple of times I found that the camera itself had a history seperate from the memory card. I found it by accident … and lost it again among all the multi-function icons … maybe the images are stored somewhere? The ones you have used are so gorgeous.

        The year I was 4.5 – 5.5 we lived in Montana. I remember flying over hills in a jeep following Pronghorns in the fall. I still have rocks I picked up in the Grand Tetons after the spring thaw.

        Thank you for high lighting nature’s glory with your own unique and beautiful vision. Thank you.

        1. Oh, I wish I knew this. I lost 50% of my posts, and a few of the remaining posts had missing photos so I had to go back and substitute photos that weren’t from that actual time frame, which I didn’t like doing. It seems ungenuine somehow. I like accuracy. The error happened with WordPress’s Media Gallery. I had a gazillion photos in it and I decided to clear some out and free up some space. So I deleted a bunch of photos. After deleting, I saw that this permanently removed photos from already posted posts. So I have a bunch of links to posts out there with no photos in them. I wonder if this means, that when we stop paying for wordpress, all our photos will disappear from out posts. Maybe our posts themselves will be deleted once we stop payiing. If so, this is not a very good deal. Because posts that we paid for shouldn’t be deleted. Aw well, all is impermanent……
          What a memory of chasing the pronghorns in the jeep! How thrilling! I spent some childhood summers in The Tetons. I remember the wolves howling us to sleep in our cabin and riding my horse Moose all the over the place, including back and forth across The Snake River. I also used to lie in the meadows, playing dead, hoping the eagles would fly down to investigate me. They never did of course! πŸ˜‰ The Tetons in the summertime are made for kids and memories! Love it that you have these memories too~

          1. And pack rats … hahaha

            Do you keep an email copy of your posts? Copy paste to another file..quick. The link might not work, but copy paste will … unless you have one of those alarm anti-copy whatsits Try. Maybe someone with an email follow instead of reader has them? Your husband or son or someone like that?

  16. Wow these are gorgeous pictures!!!! first, simply beautiful animals, you have captured every detail for us to enjoy! I can’t believe they are so fast. Second, the pictures of the water, the mountains, reflections,ohhhh really what amazing photos. Thank you so much for sharing such beauty!!!

  17. Hi Cuz,
    The pics of the pronghorns are fantastic. As far as their running, I think they just like to show off…, that, and maybe they just like the feel of the wind on their faces. The pic of the mountain reflected in the lake remind me of one of my secret Montana trout fishing holes. It was just on the east side of Yellowstone, southeast of Waldo (Yes ! I found Waldo !). A 3 mile hike from there was a place locals called Emerald Lake where there were golden trout, one of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever caught. Anyway, thanks for dredging up memories of beautiful places and things with your pics and posts. The biology lessons are nice too ! Hugs !

    1. I remember an Emerald Lake well from when I was young. The baby trout would nibble your toes and it tickled. I wonder if it is the same. The east side of Yellowstone is pretty amazing. I haven’t done the Yellowstone scenery pics yet. You can definitely tell we are related, because we love these same gorgeous parts of the country. My other cousins, Mike and John, love Yellowstone and The Tetons too and fish there all the time!

    1. We do have mountain lions and bears, but they can’t run 55mph, poor dears! I think they must enjoy it and I had a dream about this last night. I dreamed of them running full tilt acorss the plains just for the joy of it! <3

  18. Beautiful animals! I once saw some of them near Jackson, WY. They were running very fast. By the time I raised my camera and tried to focus on them, they were gone.

  19. Okay Cindy….bear with me while I go on my rant & Cindy worship, lol πŸ˜‰ First off, the pictures of Wyoming…SPECTACULAR!! So much so, that Inion just informed everyone she’s moving there!! lol Secondly, I’m going to show my dummy-side. I had no clue that there even was an “American Cheetah.” For real!! So I Googled it and sure enough, just as you said, extinct. So you’ve taught us something. They were beautiful creatures, how sad!! As for the Pronghorns, they are such beautiful creatures as well. But our favorite by far was the pictures of Wyoming. You’ve left us once again in awe of your artful eye and magical gift!! πŸ˜‰ xoxo Sharing this now!!

    1. Blogging is so much fun for me because it lets me make friends with people like you two! I would never meet such creative, brilliant, supportive and fun friends like you if it weren’t for blogging! I have wanted to move to Wyoming since I was a kid! So if Inion moves there, that’s it, I will too. (Don’t tell my husband yet though!) Love you both & cheers! <3 <3

      1. Inion, here. And, I’m so ready to pack my bags. Matter of fact I’ll pick you up on the way there. πŸ™‚ Have to say, Cindy I use your pictures as wallpapers for my computer and phone. They literally take my breath away. Funny enough you were the inspiration for one of our lines in Nightwalkers: The Secret of Jessup. The MC moves from Southwest Florida to Northwest Oregon. When she sees the grandeur of the mountains she says, “I used to have this kind of scenery on my desktop as wallpaper, but that was the limit of my experience with Utopias.” That’s how we feel when we look at your pictures. Love you!

      2. Ahhhhhhh……Tell me when you think you will arrive and I’ll be packed and ready! So looking forward to reading your book. It makes me very happy to think what I do might make someone feel good. I am just parlaying Mother Nature’s eternal message. Thank you so much for hearing her. <3 <3

  20. Interesting tidbit – I didn’t know that Pronghorns were that fast.
    Your pictures are gorgeous. They make me want to hop in the car and take a loooong drive westward.

    1. I think the trick is to only approach the guarding male and completely ignore the female harem and fawns. The male will watch you, but if you only are looking at him, he may hold his ground. They never ran off. Of course they just could have been tired, or hungry or both, or maybe I just looked very non-threatening. I think it’s the latter……. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  21. The pronghorns are so cool! It was getting close to the rut when we visited Yellowstone and what a job he had to try keeping his harem in one spot…hehe. It was quite entertaining to watch him chase the girls back into his little harem:)

    1. That was just like the elk in Yellowstone during the rut. These guys run themselves ragged, and the females just wander off chewing their cud! Bugle, bugle! More females wander off! πŸ˜‰

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