Kirk's Dik-Dik

Kirk's Dik-Dik

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Madoqua kirkii
Population size
971,000
Life Span
5-18 yrs
TOP SPEED
42 km/h
WEIGHT
3-6 kg
HEIGHT
305-405 mm
LENGTH
520-670 mm

Kirk's dik-diks are one of the world's smallest antelopes that are native to Eastern Africa. These dainty creatures have a pointed snout, large eyes and ears, prominent preorbital glands, pipestem legs, and a vestigial tail. Their hare-like hind limbs are larger than their forelimbs. Their coats, depending upon their habitat, range from grey to gray-brown with tan flanks, limbs. They also have an erectile head crest and whitish eye rings, ear lining, underparts, and rump. Only males have horns, which may be straight or curved backwards, and the basal half of the horns have 7 to 9 annular ridges that are frequently covered by the crest. Females in this species are larger and lack horns, while males sport a more developed muzzle, have a longer crest, and tend to be lighter in color.

Distribution

Kirk's dik-diks are found in eastern and southwestern Africa. In eastern Africa, they range from southern Somalia to central Tanzania and in southwestern Africa from northern Namibia and adjoining parts of south-western Angola. These antelopes inhabit savanna areas and prefer habitats with good cover but lacking tall vegetation. Ideal habitats contain a variety of browse, extensive shade, and an open understory at their eye level. As a result, they move to different ranges when grass grows too high and obstructs their view.

Geography

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Kirk's dik-diks are social creatures and live in pairs. In good conditions, a pair may reside within the same territory for life. Males are the main defenders of territories, as females are unable to maintain territories themselves. Both the male and female mark their territory with secretions from preorbital scent glands that are located beneath their eyes and with dung deposits. Dik-diks are nocturnal, and during the daytime seek shade to rest during the hottest parts of the day to help avoid the loss of valuable fluids. Dik-diks have excellent senses of hearing, sight, and smell. When they feel in danger or hear the alarm calls of other animals, they prefer to hide, rather than flee. The name of these antelopes is derived from their call. When they feel threatened, dik-diks lie low to prevent detection. If they are discovered, they run in a swift, zigzag-like pattern until they reach refuge in a nearby thicket. During this ‘flight’, they emit trumpet-like "zik-zik" or "dik-dik" calls to raise an alarm or to harass predators and publicize the presence of a mated pair.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Kirk's dik-diks are herbivorous (folivorous), frugivorous) animals. Their diets consist mainly of foliage, fruits, shoots, and berries. Due to their adaptations, dik-diks can stay without water for long periods of time; they rely on vegetation as a source of water.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
PREGNANCY DURATION
5-6 months
BABY CARRYING
1 calf
INDEPENDENT AGE
7 months
BABY NAME
calf

Kirk's dik-diks are monogamous and pairs mate for life. Breeding can take place twice per year. Females give birth to one calf after the gestation period of 5-6 months. Most births occur between November and December and April through May. Dik-diks differ from other ruminants in that calves are born with their forelegs along the body, rather than extended forward. After birth, the calf lies concealed away from its mother for 2 to 3 weeks. The mother will nurse her offspring within 6 weeks. At around 7 months after birth, when another calf is born the parents chase the older sibling out of their territory. It's the time when the older calf must seek out its own territory and mate. Females reach reproductive maturity between 6 and 8 months of age, while males become reproductively mature between 8 and 9 months of age.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Kirk's dik-diks at present. However, These antelopes are sometimes hunted for their hides and bones, often using snares. The bones from their legs and feet are used in traditional jewelry, while their hides are fashioned into suede gloves.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Kirk's dik-diks is around 971,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. Kirk's Dik-Dik on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk%27s_dik-dik
2. Kirk's Dik-Dik on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/12670/50190709

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