Classification

Class Mammalia

Order Cetartiodactyla

Family Bovidae

Genus Madoqua

Species kirki

Habitat & Range

Kirk’s dik-dik is found in dry terrain with dense, high brush and kopjes (rocky outcrops in grasslands) and hard, stony soil.

This dik-dik is found Sub-Saharan east Africa, Namibia and Angola.

africa

Kirk’s Dik Dik

Madoqua kirki

Kirk's dik dik can be hard to spot.  They are a small species of antelope and only grow to weigh 11-12 pounds.  In addition, they are extremely reclusive and are seldom seen for more than a few seconds.

Adaptations

  • Dik-diks have an elongated snout or proboscis. This snout helps them keep cool.
  • A prominent pre-orbital glands located in front of the eye discharges a black, sticky secretion. This secretion is deposited on twigs to mark territory.
  • Dik-diks are more active during the night to avoid the extreme heat of the day. They get all the moisture they need to survive from the food they eat.
  • Their alarm call is a loud, breathy “zik-zik,” hence their name “dik-dik”.

Physical Description

  • Kirk’s dik-dik are very small antelope and are considered dwarf antelope.  They are 23-24 inches (58.4-60.9 cm) high, weighing 11-12 pounds (4.98-5.44 kg).
  • Their coloration is grizzled gray to gray-brown above, with whitish under parts. The flanks and legs are tan.
  • The have large dark eyes with a white ring. They have an elongated proboscis-like nose.
  • Only males have the small straight horns. These may grow to 4.5 inches.

Diet

What Does It Eat?

In their historic range: They eat shoots and fruits from any edible plant or shrub. Standing on their hind legs enables them to reach higher food sources. They do not graze.

At the zoo: This species is fed grain diet, alpha and browse.

What Eats It?

Because of their size dik diks can be prey of many animals such as lions, hyenas, African wild dogs, jackals, monitor lizards, large birds of prey and pythons.

Social Organization

Kirk’s dik-dik are solitary or travel in groups made up of a monogamous pair and their offspring. They are extremely reclusive and are seldom seen for more than a few seconds. Males and females are territorial and this species has prominent pre-orbital glands located in front of the eye, which discharges a black, sticky secretion. This secretion is deposited on twigs. Additionally the perimeter of the territory is demarcated with dunging areas. By marking their territory, they establish a range and discourage intruders.

Life Cycle

Gestation period is five to six months with a single birth. Birthing peaks occur from November – December and April – May.  After birth, the fawn lies concealed away from the mother for two to three weeks. They nurse for six to eight weeks.  Although they grow up with their parents, the young leave from the home territory at seven to eight months of age. Females may bear up to two young per year. Females become sexually mature at six to eight months, males at eight to nine months.  Life span in Africa is only 3-4 years. In managed care settings like zoos, dik-dik live about 10 years.

Collection Connection

  • Denver Zoo has one dik-dik named Spock. He was born 12/3/2008. This species is solitary with the exception of mating pairs with offspring, so Spock appreciates having a home to himself. Spock spends the nights inside in a private bedroom. He trains with staff on behaviors that help staff take care of him, for example, Spock gets on the scale to be weighed.
  • Kirk’s dik-dik can be found at Predator Ridge near the entrance of the zoo.

Conservation Status

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Kirk’s dik-dik have a limited range, but are well adapted to extremely dry environments. Over-hunting by humans is the greatest threat to this small species.

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