Kirk's Dikdik

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This small desert antelope has a flexible snout, or proboscis, lined with numerous blood vessels that serves as a heat exchanger. Cooled blood then passes directly to the brain, protecting this vital organ from increased body temperature in the heat of the day.

The dikdik may be active by day or night and is usually about when the moon is full.

It eats shoots and leaves of shrubs and succulents.

Family groups, consisting of an adult pair and their young, live in well-defined territories that they protect from neighboring families.

Dung, urine, and secretions from facial glands are used to mark territorial boundaries and are deposited by each family member. They will also add their own dung to any strong-smelling substance they encounter in their territory.

The male dikdik whistles to warn of danger; different whistles elicit different responses from the female and young: They may run and hide or join together to mob a predator.

Animal Facts

Name: Kirk's Dikdik (Madoqua kirkii)

Family: Bovidae (Cattle and Relatives)

Range: Isolated populations in east and southwest Africa

Habitat: Arid areas with thickets and shrubs on stony soil

Diet: Leaves, shrubs, grasses, herbs, and sedges

Head and Body Length: 22 to 28 inches (55 to 70 cm)

Tail Length: 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4 to 6 cm)

Weight: 9 to 15 pounds (4 to 7 kg)

Life Cycle: Gestation about 180 days, one young born; two births per year

Description: Reddish-brown, grizzled coat; grayish to white underneath; white-ringed eyes; elongated snout; ringed horns on males; rubbery-bottomed hooves

Conservation Status: Common