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Kirk’s Dik-Dik

Scientific Name: Madoqua kirkii

Kirk’s dik-dik are a small antelope species from east Africa. They are a fawn colour, which is excellent camouflage in their savannah habitat. Males have stout horns often hidden by tufts of fur. This species of dik-dik have an elongated snout that allows excess heat to be lost lowering body temperature. Blood vessels close to the skin of the snout allows excess heat to pass to the air, cooling the blood that then returns to the body.

All dik-diks take their name from the call they make when startled. They will jump from their hiding place and move in a series of zig-zag leaps whilst making the “dik-dik” call. This movement aims to confuse predators.

Kirk’s dik-dik form a monogamous male-female pair who maintain a territory. The pair will have one offspring twice a year coinciding with the start and finish of the rainy season. Infants reach full size by the time they are seven months old. They are then chased out of the territory by their parents; males chase their sons and females chase their daughters!

The herbivorous diet of the Kirk’s dik-dik is mostly made up of leaves. They have a very high metabolic rate, which means they must eat a high amount of vegetation relative to their size.

The Kirk’s dik-dik is a fairly common species in their home range in east Africa. In some areas, they are under threat from the expansion of farmland and overhunting. However, they are good at surviving in scrubland and over-grazed areas making them resilient to habitat change.

Key Facts:

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Distribution: Eastern Africa
  • Habitat: Savannah, Scrublands
  • Diet: Mostly Leaves
  • Height: 40cm
  • Weight: 5kg
  • Gestation: 174 days
  • No. of young: 1
  • Life Span: 17 years