2nd Fastest Animal in the World Lives in Montana
Range maggots, prairie carp, speed goats, sagebrush rockets... these are some slang terms you may have heard Montanan's call Antilocapra americana, or the pronghorn antelope. However, it's not actually an antelope or a goat. Its closest relative is the giraffe, according to this piece by Nature Works PBS. If you've been in Montana longer than a week, you'll notice herds of pronghorns along just about every rural road and highway in our state. For some reason you don't see too many of them hit on the highways compared to deer. Not sure why. Maybe they're just a notch smarter?
So, what about all those antelope nicknames that invoke speed? Well, it turns out the pronghorn in fast. Really fast. In fact, it is the 2nd fastest land mammal in the world, after the cheetah. American Expedition says on its pronghorn fact sheet that they can run up to 65 miles per hour! The fastest animal - the cheetah - can top out at 75'ish.
Many hunters compare pronghorn meat to that of a deer or other venison. I've never eaten antelope and don't really plan on it anytime soon. Unless the price of beef continues to skyrocket. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says that the pronghorn was nearly wiped out in the 1900s, with as few as 15,000 animals remaining. Thanks to conservation efforts, those numbers are now around 1 million. The 2019 numbers based on FW&P surveys say there are around 160,000 antelope in Montana, with the majority (52,000+) found in hunting Region 7.
Now, what about the jackalope?