Photo: Kamal Hamid (Flickr)
Horns and antlers have some important things in common. They both grow from an animal’s forehead, and are used to assert dominance, provide defense, and attract mates.
How To Tell Them Apart?
Horns look like daggers, sometimes twisted into exotic shapes. Antlers look like branches, with multiple points. Second, different types of animals sport different types of headgear. Horns belong to the bovids–animals such as sheep, goats, cows, and bison. Antlers belong to the cervids. That includes all deer, elk, moose, and caribou (or reindeer).
Number three: horns are made of keratin just like your fingernails, which means that they grow throughout an animal’s whole life and never fall off. Antlers, on the other hand, are made of bone. They fall off every year in winter or early spring, and a whole new set grows in time for mating season in the fall.
Anglers Belong To Boys
Which brings us to our last big difference. Horns, you see, usually grow on both the male and female members of a species…While antlers belong almost exclusively to the boys. Female caribou are the only exception, and their antlers are pretty small.