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Cattle Antelopes Bison Buffaloes Goats and Sheep: Bovidae - Physical Characteristics

bovids range keratin glands

Bovids (BOH-vidz) vary in weight, from 6.6 to over 2,867 pounds (3 to over 1,300 kilograms), with a shoulder height range of 9.85 inches to 6.56 feet (25 centimeters to 2 meters). Bodies range from slender with long legs to stocky and muscular. All bovid males have horns, as do many females. Horns are bony and covered with keratin (KARE-ah-tin; protective material that makes up hair and fingernails). Bovids do not shed the keratin layer. They have hooves and four stomach chambers, which allows for efficient digestion.

Bovids have a number of scent glands on different parts of their bodies. They secrete oil from these glands during mating season, when in danger, or to mark territory.

Bovids range in color from white to black to orange-yellow. Most are some shade of brown.

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