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Dik-Diks - Habitat And Diet, Social Organization, Territorial Behavior

antelopes africa

Dik-diks (genus Madoqua) are small (dog-sized) African antelopes belonging to the family of Bovidae, which includes cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as antelopes, gazelles, and impalas. Like all bovids, dik-diks have even-toed hooves, horns, and a four-chambered stomach. There are five species of dik-dik—Kirk's (the largest), Günther's, Salt's, Red-bellied, and Swayne's (the smallest), as well as 21 subspecies.

Dik-diks belong to the tribe Neotragini, the dwarf antelopes. These small animals weigh only up to 12 lb (6 kg), stand a little over 1 ft (40 cm) in height at the shoulders, and are less than 2 ft (67 cm) in length. Dikdiks are found in the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and in some parts of southwest Africa. In spite of their small size, dik-diks are heavily hunted for their skin, which is used to make gloves. Dik-diks have big eyes, a pointed snout, and a crest of erect hair on their forehead. These antelopes can withstand prolonged high temperatures because of their ability to cool down by nasal panting.

A Kirk's dik-dik. Photograph by Renee Lynn. The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

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The Silver Dik-dik occurs in very low, dense thickets growing along the central Somali coastal littoral on fertile, sandy soils under a powerful offshore wind which has a cooling and moisturising effect (Kingdon 1997). In the south-eastern part of the Ethiopian Ogaden, Silver Dik-dik have been observed in dense to semi-dense Acacia-Commiphora bushland (Wilhelmi et al. 2006).

Scientific name: Madoqua
Height: 12 – 16 in. (At Shoulder)
Speed: 26 mph (Maximum)
Mass: 6.6 – 13 lbs
Higher classification: Antilopinae

Its skins are highly valued for handicraft products.

The habitat of the Silver Dik-dik is threatened by increased human presence and activity, e.g., during the worst period of the civil war many people fled along the coastal roads which were also used by large numbers of heavily armed fighters and their vehicles. Its skins are highly valued for handicraft products.

The weight is 10-12 pounds 14 to 16 inches to the soldiers the life span is 3-4 years. 10 years in captivity. They are herbivores.
Thanks to an evolved cooling mechanism, dik-diks are water-independent. The dik-dik eats foliage, shoots, fruit, and berries. Because of their body's evolved cooling ability, they are water-independent, getting water from the vegetation they eat.

Dik-diks are hunted primarily by leopards, caracals, lions, hyenas, wild dogs and +

humans. Other predators include monitor lizards, cheetahs, jackals, baboons,eagles, hawks and pythons.