Often clients would mention that Kudu, or Eland has a big set of “antlers”, and this usually opens up the discussion for the differences between Horns and Antlers. So what do you think the differences are?


  • Horns are present in African Antelope species, such as Kudu, Impala, Eland and Wildebeest.
  • Any antelope that grows horns will have a pair of them, growing from the top of the head.
  • And they have them from birth. Although when horned antelope are born, they are only small lumps of cartilage under the skin. They aren’t attached to the skull and are known as ossicones at this stage.
  • As the antelope grows, the ossicones fuse and solidify to the skull.
  • Horns are permanent and they grow continually.
  • And they are unbranched.
  • Horns have a bony core and that bone is surrounded by a layer of keratin, which is the same substance as your nails.
  • If an antelope’s horn is broken off, in a fight for example, the horn won’t regrow. So essentially that antelope turns into a unicorn…
  • Now let’s look at Antlers…
  • Antlers are present in animals such as Deer, Elk and Moose.
  • Like horns, antlers will always be paired on the animal.
  • But instead of having antlers from birth, animals that grow antlers, only grow them at a slightly more mature age and they’re not permanent.
  • Antlers are grown annually and the animal sheds its antlers at the end of each summer, regrowing them during the next breeding season.
  • Also, Antlers are branched, which is a distinctive visual difference from horns.
  • Antlers do have a bony core, but instead of having a hard keratin layer around the bone, they grow a furry skin, known as velvet.
  • And unlike horns, a broken antler isn’t permanent.