Yesterday while looking for birds to photograph out on Antelope Island State Park I photographed this Pronghorn and through my viewfinder I could see two horny growths on its muzzle and wasn’t sure what they were, then I discovered that they were extra horns. In this frame the Pronghorn buck looks fairly normal as it chews on some food, but looking closely there are two very dark spots on the ridge of its muzzle.
This image shows a side view of the Pronghorn buck’s face with the two small extra horns shown protruding from its muzzle. I did some research on line after I arrived home and found two articles of interest.
The first is from the San Diego Zoo:
•Occasional specimens have extra horns or teats, females may or may not have horns, and some females have a different type of uterus than others (O’Gara, 1968).
The second is from a taxidermy forum:
4 horned pronghorn
This response submitted by mike d on 1/8/06 at 7:47 PM. ( the_taxidermistatyahoo.com ) 126.96.36.199
Not as uncommon as you might think!
I do about 30 to 35 goats a year and probably 1/3
of them have extra “horns”.
There is a bone knob right behind the horn that they grow over.
Pronghorn can have extra “horns” most anywhere on their heads;
I have mounted a bunch with these 1″ nubs behind the ears.
They usually are not any longer than the hair around them, so are not visible until you start looking the head over after the animal is down.
The oddest one I ever did had a 1 1/2″ horn on the bridge of the nose, like a rhino!
I’ve seen Pronghorn with deformed horns, but never anything like this. I didn’t know until yesterday that Pronghorn can grow extra horns and although these are small they appear to be made of the same keratinous material as this buck’s regular horn sheath.
You just never know what oddities you might see while wandering around photographing nature.