The dik-dik is a small species of antelope that lives in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa. They are beneficial to other animals in a couple ways. First, they serve as prey animals for larger predators like leopards, caracals, lions, hyenas, wild dogs, and humans. Secondly, they serve as sort of an alert system. They will sound the alarm with their chirp, signalling the arrival of a predator.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Madoqua
Height: 12 – 16 inches
Weight: Kirk’s dik-dik: 11 lbs | Günther’s dik-dik: 10 lbs | Salt’s dik-dik: 7.5 lbs | Silver dik-dik: 5.5 lbs
Length: Kirk’s dik-dik: 2.1 ft. | Günther’s dik-dik: 2 ft. | Salt’s dik-dik: 2 ft.
Lifespan: 5-10 years (in the wild) | 18 years (incaptivity)
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Males run at each other, stop just short of running into each other, and then nod their heads and turn around. This behavior continues until one male gives up.
2.) Eating foliage, shoots, fruit and berries, these cute herbivores (eats plant matter) get most of their hydration via the plants they eat.
3.) Dik-diks get there name from their alarm call. See below…
4.) Females have only 1 fawn at a time.
5.) Being monogamous, dik-diks find a mate and stick with them for life. They also don’t live in herds, but rather in pairs.
But wait, there’s more on the dik-dik!
6.) They are tiny but the West African royal antelope is the smallest antelope. They are about the size of a rabbit.
7.) The dik-dik can reach speeds up to 26 mph!
Did you know…?
Dik-diks pant to pump blood through their long noses. Airflow and evaporation cool it down before the cooled blood is pumped to the rest of the body.
8.) They mark their territory with secretions from the glands below their eyes. That black spot below each eye contains a preorbital gland. It creates a dark, sticky liquid. Dik-diks poke their eyes with grass stems and twigs to spread the secretions.
9.) Like all other ungulates, the dik-dik has a 4 chambered stomach and they also chew their cud.
10.) Dik-diks have prehensile noses that they can use to grasp things like leaves and twigs.