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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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