Dik-Dik

Madoqua gunther
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A Dik-dik is a small antelope that lives in the bush of East Africa, Angola and Namibia.

Dik-diks stand approximately 12 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weigh approximately 7-16 pounds. They are named for the alarm calls of the females, which make a dik-dik, or zik-zik sound. In additions to the female’s alarm call, both the male and female make a shrill whistling sound.

The Dik-dik lives in the grasslands of southern Africa. Dik-diks seek habitats with plentiful supply of edible plants such as shrubs with fruit or berries, but prefer foliage that is not so tall as to obstruct their sight lines. Their territories are often in low, shrubby bushes along dry, rocky streambeds where there are plenty of hiding places.

A black spot below the inside corner of each eye contains a preorbital gland that produces a dark sticky secretion. Dik-diks insert grass stems and twings into the gland to scent-mark their territories.

Conservation Status: Listed as threatened by the IUCN. Wild populations are declining in many areas of their home range, mainly due to habitat loss and over hunting. Both the male and female dik-dik make a shrill whistling sound. These calls often alert a variety of other animals to any disturbance in the area. Consequently, hunters regard did-diks as a nuisance and have killed great numbers in the past in order to prevent them from scaring away game animals.

Did you Know?
To prevent overheating while minimizing need for water, the dik-dik has evolved a particular cooling mechanism. Their elongated snouts have bellow-like muscles by which blood is pumped. Airflow and subsequent evaporation cools this blood before it is recirculated to the body.