Mammals are a diverse group of animals filled with intriguing creatures that can mystify and intrigue all those who see them. Mammals with horns, for example, are one such group of animals that use their unique feature for territorial displays, defense, and even attracting mates. Keep reading to learn more about which mammals have horns and how they use them.
16 Mammals With Horns
Horned mammals can be found all over the world. From the African savannas to the Arctic tundras, there are various different mammals with horns. These fascinating creatures use their horns for a wide array of tasks, and you will learn about 16 of these animals with the list below.
Scientific Name: Rhinocerotidae
The Rhinos have thick skin and one or two horn-like structures on their noses. They are found in the forests, grasslands, and savannas of Africa and Asia. They are herbivorous grazers who feed on leaves, fruits, and grasses.
Rhinos use their horns to find themselves against predators, as well as for territorial disputes with other rhinos. Unfortunately, rhinos have been a target for poaching, thanks to the high demand for their horns, which people use for medicinal purposes.
2. Musk Ox
Scientific Name: Ovibos moschatus
The musk ox has a shaggy coat and curved horns. They are found in the Arctic regions of Greenland and North America. They are herbivorous, feeding on grasses, lichens, and mosses. The males of the species use their horns to establish dominance during mating season, and will often headbutt other musk ox to determine hierarchy.
3. Water Buffalo
Scientific Name: Bubalus bubalis
The Water buffaloes are large herbivorous mammals native to Asia but have been introduced to other parts of the world. They are well-adapted to wetland and marshy habitats, including swamps, riverbanks, and flooded grasslands. Water buffaloes have large, curved horns, which they use as a form of defense and to establish dominance. Their horns also come in handy for mating displays and territorial disputes.
4. Bighorn Sheep
Scientific Name: Ovis canadensis
The Bighorn sheep are well known for their large, curved horns that can weigh up to 30 pounds. They are native to North America, and found in deserts, grasslands, and mountainous regions. They are herbivorous grazers who feed on grasses, shrubs, and various other vegetation. Male bighorn sheep use their horns to compete with other males during mating season.
Scientific Name: Oryx gazella
Also known as the South African oryx, the gemsbok has long, straight horns and a black and white facial pattern. They are found in the arid regions of Southern Africa. They feed on leaves, grasses, and succulent plants. Gemsbok horns can be dangerous due to their sharpness, which comes in handy when they need to defend themselves against predators.
Scientific Name: Addax nasomaculatus
The addax is a desert antelope that has twisted, corkscrew-like horns. They inhabit the Sahara Desert, as well as other arid regions throughout Africa. These herbivores have adapted to survive with sparse vegetation and moisture. They use their horns to dig in the sand to reach vegetation.
Scientific Name: Aepyceros melampus
The Impalas are medium-sized antelope that have lyre-shaped horns. They are native to Southern and Eastern Africa, thriving in the woodlands and grasslands throughout these areas. They are herbivores who graze on leaves, grasses, and fruits. The male impala uses its horns for territorial disputes and mating displays and is often seen engaging in impressive leaping contests in order to attract females.
Scientific Name: Capra falconeri
The Markhors are a species of wild goat that has a distinctive beard and twisted horns. They live in the mountainous regions of Central Asia. They feed on grasses, shrubs, and leaves. Markhors use their horns to establish dominance. Older males typically have larger horns that are more twisted than younger males.
Scientific Name: Antilope cervicapra
The Blackbucks are an antelope that has ringed, twisted horns. They are native to the Indian subcontinent, preferring open woodlands and grasslands. They are grazers who mainly consume grasses. The blackbuck uses its horns for fights during mating seasons and territorial displays. The male blackbuck will often stand erect and leap to show their dominance.
Scientific Name: Alces alces
The Moose are a well-known horned male that is primarily found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They are larger creatures that can inhabit a wide array of habitats, but are most often found in wooded or forested areas. Moose are herbivores and use their horns, which are known as antlers, to display dominance and strength.
11. Jacob Sheep
Scientific Name: Ovis aries
The Jacob sheep are multi-horned mammals that can possess four horns. They are a domesticated British breed that was once used as a way to “ornament the large estates of landowners.” Nowadays, the Jacob sheep is mainly bred for its wool and meat.
Scientific Name: Antilocapra americana
The pronghorn is a North American horned mammal that can reach speeds of up to 61 miles per hour. They have forked horns, which they use to defend themselves against predators. Pronghorns are found in deserts and grasslands in North America and feed on grasses and plants.
Scientific Name: Boselaphus tragocamelus
The Nilgais, also known as blue bulls, are large antelope with short, curved horns. They are native to the Indian subcontinent and thrive in various habitats, including forests and grasslands. These herbivores feed on plants, leaves, grasses, and fruits. They mainly use their horns as a defense against predators, but males can also use them during social interactions.
14. Cape Buffalo
Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
The Cape Buffalo is a species of large African bovine found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are large-sized, standing up to 1.7 meters tall at the shoulder, and have large, curved horns that can reach up to 1 meter in length. Their horns are important for defense against predators and for establishing dominance within their social hierarchy.
Scientific Name: Damaliscus pygargus pygargus
The Bontebok is a medium-sized antelope species found in South Africa. They stand 2.6-3.3 feet tall at the shoulder and have curved, lyre-shaped horns that can reach up to 1.6 feet in length. The Bontebok is one of the rarest antelope species in South Africa, with only a few thousand individuals remaining in the wild.
Bonteboks were once critically endangered due to overhunting and habitat loss, but conservation efforts have helped to increase their population numbers. Their horns play a crucial role in the survival of the species, helping them defend against predators and compete for mates within their social groups.
16. Wild Yak
Scientific Name: Bos mutus
The wild yak is a species of large bovine found in the high-altitude regions of Central Asia. They are one of the largest wild cattle species in the world, standing up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 2,600 pounds. Both male and female wild yaks grow horns, which can reach up to 3 feet in length and are an important adaptation for survival in their harsh environment.
The wild yak’s horns are used for defense against predators, establishing dominance within their social hierarchy, and digging through snow and ice to reach food during the winter months. These adaptations help the wild yak survive in areas with little vegetation and extremely cold temperatures.