Adaptations of the Sonoran Pronghorn

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Sonoran pronghorns (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) are an antelope subspecies found in the Sonoran desert. Experts are unsure of the exact numbers left in the wild, but they believe fewer than 150 live in the United States and fewer than 650 in Mexico. Despite their decline, they have several adaptations that help those who remain survive.

Breeding

Both male and female Sonoran pronghorns have high reproductive rates and reach sexual maturity quickly. This adaptation helps them to produce as many offspring as possible, despite their short life spans of seven to 10 years. Does reach sexual maturity around 16 months of age, bucks at 1 year old. Females generally give birth to one or two fawns, who will be weaned and able to fend for themselves by the time they're 4 to 5 months old.

Eating

As a herbivorous species living in arid areas, Sonoran pronghorns must be able to eat and digest a range of plants that other species might not touch, such as cactuses and desert grasses. Members of the species have teeth in their cheeks with high crowns, which allow them to more easily chew these abrasive foods. They also have four-part stomachs that aid with the digestion of rough foods and lets them extract enough nutrients.

Avoiding Predation

An important part of survival for Sonoran pronghorns is avoiding predation. Their large eyes, set high on their heads, offer them heightened vision. They can spot movement from up to 4 miles away, giving them a good head start in case of danger. With top speeds of up to 60 miles per hour over short distances and 35 miles per hour over long distances, they're able to run away from almost any threat.

Temperature Control

The Sonoran desert is a harsh environment to live in, as temperatures soar during the daytime and plummet at night. However, Sonoran pronghorns have a couple of adaptations to help them live in the changeable environment. They're able to raise patches of their hair, releasing heat trapped beneath their fur in hot temperatures. Their stuff, hollow hair is also very good at keeping heat in, providing a good amount of insulation in the cold

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