KIRK’S DIKDIK – Madoqua kirkii


Kirk’s dikdik facts: This small antelope measures 22.5 to 29.5 inches (57 to 75 centimeters) long and 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 centimeters) high. It weighs just 6 to 14 pounds (2.7 to 6.5 kilograms). The fur on its back is gray with black and white flecks; face and legs are tan, and the chin, belly, and underside of the tail are white. The crest of fur on the head is yellow-orange, as are the face and legs. Ears are large, and big eyes are ringed with short white fur. Males have large glands beneath the eyes, and their sharp horns grow to be 4 inches (10 centimeters).

Geographic range: This dikdik is found in Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Angola, and Namibia.

Kirk’s dikdik habitat: This dikdik lives in dry, hot regions of mixed woodland. Uses thickets and thorny bushes for cover.

What does kirk’s dikdik eat: Kirk’s dikdik browses on herbs, leaves, evergreen shoots, fruits and berries, and flowers during the day and night. It rises on hind legs to reach food if necessary, and gets minerals by eating soil and bones and by visiting saltlicks. It does not need regular water intake.

Behavior and reproduction: This dikdik lives in pairs and defends their territory by chasing samesex intruders. Territory is marked with urine, dung, and secretions from scent glands. Males defend territory boundaries by butting bordering vegetation and raising the hair on their heads. It makes six different vocalizations.

Pairs are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; mate only with each other) for life. After a gestation period of 166 to 174 days, females birth one young. Offspring are able to join parents after six weeks of hiding in vegetation, and they nurse until eight or ten weeks of age. Dikdiks are ready to mate between six and eight months, and females are ready to breed again within ten days of delivering their babies. Predators include eagles, pythons, lizards, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas. Life span in the wild is three to four years.

Kirk’s dikdik and people: Common source of meat throughout its range.

Conservation status: Kirk’s dikdik is not considered threatened. Total population is estimated to be from the hundreds of thousands to two million.