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10 Examples of Animals With Short Horns (Pictures)

You’ll be amazed by the sight of horned animals, as their impressive feature plays a significant role in their lives. These creatures use this feature for various purposes, including defense, asserting their territory, and attracting potential mates. While some animals have impressively long ones, some animals with short horns also exist. 

Many different factors, including body size, habitat, and evolutionary adaptations, have an enormous impact on the length of horns across species. This article will explore the world of short-horned animals and uncover how these unique features help with their survival. 

10 Animals with short horns

1. Bison

Bison in grassland
Bison in grassland | image by Grand Teton via Flickr

Scientific Name: Bison bison

American bison have a distinctive appearance, boasting a shaggy winter coat that’s dark brown and changes to a lighter brown in summer. Although they have a massive build, their horns are shorter compared to those of other animals with the same feature.

North America’s largest land animals are these iconic creatures, with bulls and cows both possessing single sets of curved, hollow horns that grow outward and upwards to a maximum length of about 2 ft. These horns play crucial roles in the herd by asserting dominance and providing defense. 

2. Mountain Goat

Mountain goat
Mountain goat | image by GlacierNPS via Flickr

Scientific Name: Oreamnos americanus

Due to their black horns and snow-white coat, it’s easy to recognize mountain goats. Their horns, which measure a mere 5.9 to 11 inches long, are among the shorter ones you’ll see in the wild. Males possess wider, curving horns, while females’ horns tend to curve more towards the tip.

These agile animals are typically found in the mountainous regions of North America, where their inner pads and cloven hooves become beneficial when moving through rocky terrain.

3. Rhinoceros

White rhinoceros
White rhinoceros | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Ceratotherium simum

The white rhinoceros holds the title of being the largest among all rhino species, boasting an impressive weight of approximately 5,070 lbs for males and around 3,750 lbs for females. Although it’s a large animal, its horns are shorter than those of other animals. These horns are made entirely of keratin, and they’re arranged one in front of the other, with the front horn of this animal measuring approximately 24 inches in length. 

4. Domestic cow

Domestic cow
Domestic cow | image by My Past via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Bos taurus

People across the globe widely use domestic cows to produce milk and meat, making them one of the most common animals. Many different breeds of this species have noticeably shorter horns than others, such as the shorthorn and Simmental cattle. As prey animals, cows use them to defend themselves, especially in the wild. Depending on the breed, you’ll also notice that their coats come in different colors, from black to white. 

5. Royal antelope

Scientific Name: Neotragus pygmaeus

The royal antelope is known for being the smallest antelope in the world, with a small size, measuring about 10 in tall. The creature, which has a soft coat ranging in color from reddish to golden-brown, lives in the rainforests of West Africa and is known for its nocturnal habits. Additionally, the males have extremely short horns that are only one to two inches long.

6. Northern Pudu

Northern pudu
Northern pudu | image by Colección Mastozoológica MHNUC Universidad del Cauca via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Pudu mephistophiles

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The Northern Pudu, the world’s smallest deer species, stands only 13 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs around 7.3 to 13.2 lbs. Even though it’s small, this animal has short spike-like horns, which are some of the shortest among all animals.

This small deer can be found in the Andes of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador, living in montane forests, high-elevation elfin forests, and alpine páramo grasslands. Few things are known about the Northern pudu because of its mysterious behavior and remote habitats. 

7. Jackson’s Chameleon

Jackson's chameleon basking
Jackson’s chameleon basking | image by Rod Waddington via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Trioceros jacksonii

Jackson’s chameleons, which you may call the three-horned chameleons, have unique short horns that set them apart from other chameleons. The male chameleons have three brown horns, namely the rostral and preocular, which resemble those of the Triceratops dinosaur.

However, female chameleons lack them. Males use these features to engage in territorial disputes and to enhance their chances of attracting potential mates. 

8. Dik-Dik

Dik dik
Dik-dik | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Madoqua kirkii

If you have ever come across a small horned animal, typically measuring around 14 to 18 inches in length, chances are you have encountered a dik-dik. These antelopes are some of the smallest in the world, and you may see them in northeastern Africa, preferring the hottest, driest regions. The males are the only ones with horns, but you can distinguish both male and female dik-diks by their pointed snouts, large eyes and ears, and distinct preorbital glands.

9. Oribi

Oribi
Oribi | image by Manuel Schwarz via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Ourebia ourebi

The oribi is another small antelope you’ll find in Africa, especially in the Central and Southern regions. Just like other species, only males possess horns, and theirs measure 3.1 to 7.1 inches in length, exhibiting a smooth texture at the tips and a ringed base.

This antelope reaches about 20 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs only 26 to 49 lbs, featuring a glossy yellowish to rufous-brown coat. During the day, you’ll frequently observe them grazing, typically in small herds

10. Duiker

Common duiker
Common duiker | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Sylvicapra grimmia

The common duiker is one of the animals that boasts a horn that measures only 4.3 inches long, establishing its place among the short-horned animals. The small African antelope lives across various regions of sub-Saharan Africa, and you may see it being active during twilight and nighttime hours, as it prefers to hide during the daytime. Females tend to have a larger physique, with an average weight ranging from 26 to 55 pounds, while males typically have a lighter weight and have horns.