Horns? Antlers? What’s what?

This post written by Memory Mays

If you have recently visited the Houston Zoo, you may have seen some of our baby antelope who are beginning to grow horns.

Surprisingly, horns have several important purposes that not only affect the species’ behavior, but also help them to obtain food, regulate body temperature, and for some species, get the ladies. No animal is born with a full set of horns. It takes time to grow them and for most species horn buds do not appear until they are several months old.

As a horn grows, it develops a system of blood vessels on the interior. This is one feature that makes horns different from antlers. Where horns have blood flowing through the horn, antlers have blood flowing through a skin called “velvet” that covers the bone. Once the antler is fully grown the velvet is shed and leaves the bony structure behind as a mature antler.

Since there is no blood or vital organs found in a mature antler, it is common for the antler to fall off and regrow. Horns, however, cannot regrow. Once a horn breaks off it will remain that way for the rest of the animal’s life.  Antlers also differ from horns because they can develop a shape that resembles branches. Horns do not develop a branch shape. In some species they grow straight or have a slight curve like our Yellow-Backed Duikers. In several other species, horns may form spiral and corkscrew shapes like in our Bongo, Greater Kudu, Giant Eland, and Nyala . On your next visit to the Houston Zoo, stop by to see the different types of horns on some of our antelopes!

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Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, it's boyfriend material. ... See MoreSee Less


Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, its boyfriend material.


Comment on Facebook

Can anyone do this?


Where is the sloth's exhibit located within the zoo?

I'm not sure who is the cutest- the sloth, Simone, her boyfriend or SMG!!!

Christopher Vavrecka 😍 this is what I want for my birthday

And that is Curly- the best sloth in the world!

Erica Gunter when we going to see the giraffes?? 😍

JasonSara Pipkin, I do have a membership next time you want to go to Houston. 😉

Chris Roach, since Chelsea loves sloths.

Jason! I want an encounter with Succotash for my upcoming bday!!

I signed my wife up back in December. She gets her sloth encounter in May and is very excited!!

Julia Tompkins you and Simone have met the same sloth

I like the way the sloth looks right at the camera and poses for the picture.

what a cute picture... that sloth sure did pose for it too 😂😂

Glynis Henry we could have seen her there if we went today. i'm sad now, i love her!

Maria Diaz you could do this for Jenn!

Why is the red panda sold out forever in advance 😩 or is it just not really an encounter

Coming to the zoo this Saturday. Can not wait!

Cameron Caylor Robyn Davis Deddens apparently we can pay to meet a sloth. If you two care about my happiness WHAT SO EVER, you’ll make this happen.

Melissa Nitsche - we held a sloth & baby in Cartegena while on vacation when we lived in Panama City, Panana

Ashley Janitz Montalvo I knew there was a sloth at the Houston zoo!

We met Curly shortly after he came to Houston Zoo! So glad he's still alive and well!

Amanda Leigh Ramirez Even better! Let's chat when you get back from all your time out of the office.

Janet Roper Gratkowski, Laci is in good company with her sloth-love! 😂😂

Sloth says, “Wow, I’m usually too slow to photo bomb. Cool!”

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Houston Zoo was live.
Houston Zoo

Spring break is over and it's back to the grind, so here's something relaxing. Enjoy watching our giraffes eat lettuce during our 11 a.m. giraffe feeding! ... See MoreSee Less



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Adam Thornton we should go do this!!

What a way to relax during lunch! The giraffes are so graceful!!

Just went two months ago planing to go again !

One of my favorite things to do when we go to the zoo!

Please tell me it won't be as crowded as Sunday if we come during the week

One of my favorite parts of the zoo.

How fun ... I love going to the zoo

My favorite....Giraffes!!😁😁



They so beautiful


Aww ❤️ ❤️

Dustin Badgerow

Karina Rocha


😍 excelente experiencia !! 😍💜

Dustin Badgerow

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