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Interesting facts about the dik-dik antelope

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We found 14 interesting facts about the dik-dik antelope

Antelope is slightly larger than a hare

Dik-diks are one of the smallest antelopes found in eastern and southern Africa. These are very shy, fast animals that solemnly mark the boundaries of their territory. 

They form a monogamous relationship, spending most of their time together. And although they are not in danger of extinction, they do have enemies, the biggest of which is man.


Dik-dik (Madokua) is an African dwarf antelope.

Belongs to the subfamily of antelopes (Antilopinae) of the bovid family (Bovidae).


He lives in Africa.

Its natural habitat is two distinct areas of Africa - the eastern and southern parts of the continent - from Somalia through Tanzania to South Africa in the east and from northern Namibia to southwestern Angola in the south.


Dik-diks prefer to live in dry, bush-covered thickets and savannas.

They look for habitats with a lot of plants and shrubs. They can live on an open plain where the grass is not too tall, or in a dense forest, but they must feel safe there. They usually live in pairs on an area of ​​about 5 hectares.


They are herbivores.

They feed mainly on leaves, shoots and fruits, less often on grass. They do not require constant access to water since the food they eat contains enough water.


The name "dikdik" is an onomatopoeia.

It reflects the alarm signal emitted by a frightened, fleeing animal. The Latin name Madokua comes from the word "medakkwa" - the Amharic (native language of the Amharic people of Ethiopia) name for dik-dik.


They are some of the smallest antelopes alive today (the smallest antelope in the world is the pygmy antelope, Neotragus pygmaeus).

Their height is from 47 to 69 cm, weight is about 4 kg, females are slightly larger and heavier than males. At the withers, the height of the dik-dik is about 40 cm.

The upper parts of the body are grey-brown, while the lower parts, including the legs, belly and flanks, are brown. Under the inner corner of each eye is the prefrontal gland, which produces a dark, sticky secretion. Rubbing against bush branches and grass, they mark their territory with the smell of this secretion.


Male dik-diks have small horns.

They are about 8 cm long, longitudinally striated and inclined backwards. Sometimes the horns are partially covered with hair, forming a vertical tuft on the top of the head.


Dikdix tolerates air temperatures up to 40°C.

Probably to prevent overheating, they have elongated snouts with bellows-like muscles through which blood is pumped. The air flow and subsequent evaporation cools this blood before it is returned to the animal's body.


The antelope has special physiological adaptations that allow it to survive in arid environments.

Compared to other animals, such as cattle, it has a lower density of sweat glands. It can also concentrate urine. These devices allow dik diks to retain water in their bodies.

A physiological adaptation to the heat and dryness of the environment is also a lower metabolic rate than would be expected based on their size.


Dik-diks are monogamous.

Couples spend about 64% of their time together. Monogamy in these antelopes can be explained as an evolutionary response to predation - when surrounded by predators, it is safer to stick to one partner than to explore the territory in search of others.

Males mark their territory with piles of dung and cover the females' droppings with their own. When the opportunity arises, it is the males, not the females, who attempt to mate outside of pairs.


The female gives birth to one offspring.

The male reaches sexual maturity at the age of 12 months, and the female at 6 months. The female can become pregnant twice a year (at the beginning and end of the rainy season), which lasts six months.

Unlike other ruminants, babies are born head first rather than with their front legs.

The survival rate of young dik-dik is 50%. The young remain hidden for some time after birth, but grow rapidly and reach full size after seven months. Then they are forced to leave the territory of their parents - fathers expel their sons, mothers expel their daughters.


Dik-Dik antelopes have many natural enemies.

These include: leopards, caracals, lions, hyenas, wild dogs, cheetahs, jackals, baboons, as well as eagles, hawks, pythons and humans.

To avoid predators, dik-diks run fast - up to 42 km/h, and they also have excellent eyesight. Both male and female antelopes make a high-pitched, non-alarm whistling sound that can alert other animals to predators.


These are the animals of least concern.

As a species, they are safe. Although they have many enemies in the form of predators, their greatest threat is humans. They are killed mainly not for meat, but for the skin from which gloves are made - to produce one pair, two skins are needed, which means there are two antelopes.


Among the species found today, four are the most famous.


  • Dik-dik gum (Madoqua saltiana)
  • Silver dike (Modoqua piacentinii)
  • (Modokwa Kirki)
  • fractional dikdik (Modoqua guentheri)

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