Weighing in at 6 to 13 pounds with a height of 12-16 inches is the dik-dik! This small antelope lives in eastern and southern Africa and has dark, soulfull, eyes ringed in white. Through glands near their eyes, they can scent-mark their territories, much like your very own house cat. Females are generally larger, and males have ringed horns often with a tuft of hair that can conceal the horns. They can be distinguished by their elongated snout that is not only fascinating to look at, but has a cooling mechanism to prevent overheating and minimizes their water needs! They can even get most of their water through their diet of fruit, shoots, berries, and foliage. Therefore, they prefer habitats of edible grasses and shrubs. The shape of their head allows these special animals to eat the leaves between the spikes of Acacia Trees, as well as allow them to keep their heads high and alert while eating. There are four species of dik-dik: Madoqua guntheri (Günther’s dik-dik), Madoqua kirkii (Kirk’s dik-dik), Madoqua piacentinii (Silver dik-dik), and Madoqua saltiana (Salt’s dik-dik). 

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Guenther’s Dik-dik (Madoqua guentheri smithii), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40784406

Small in stature, they fall prey to humans, monitor lizards, eagles, and many carnivores such as leopards, caracals, lions, hyenas, and wild dogs. The dik-dik has learned to deal with its predators not by running away, but by seeking a hiding place. When they feel threatened, or hear the warning calls of others, females can make an alarm call of their own: this is the sound that gave them their name. Although, both males and females can produce a shrill, whistling sound that can alert others of the arrival of a predator. Other adaptations for survival include their spectacular eyesight and ability to run 26 mph! They are small but speedy creatures.

By Yathin sk – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21263673

One of the most wholesome facts about this incredible animal’s life history is that they mate for life! Dik-diks will live out their lives in pairs along dry, rocky stream beds in low bush areas, which provide a variety of hiding places.

By Yathin S Krishnappa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26117840