The Beautiful Dik Dik Of South Africa

South Africa

                                                                    Petite Kirk’s Dik-Dik

Among the dense brush and shrubs of East Africa, Southwest Africa, and isolated parts of South Africa lives a small petite Kirk’s Dik-Dik Antelope. They thrive in the leaves of bushes, where they can feast on buds, shoots, and latter the fruit of the vine or bush. They are quite fond of herbs, flowers and pods. Grasses of medium height are quite desirable, as they do not care for extremely tall grasslands of any kind. They prefer a dry terrain and must have a good supply of salt and some access to water.

The Dik-Dik is a spectacular animal with a coat of grey mixed with reddish brown, and a head and legs that are more of an orange or yellowish brown in color. They have large black eyes that are outlined in white and a rather long nose for such a small animal. This small antelope is a little more than 2 feet long and stands from 14-18 inches at the shoulder. This tiny antelope almost looks through you with those huge piercing eyes that give off an air of innocence. Their tails are almost as long as their bodies, while they weigh a meager 5 to 16 pounds. The adult male adds to his little frame a very petite rack of horns. This petite rack of horns is only around four inches long. What a petite beauty!

The female is fully ready to mate at six to eight months old. Males are usually closer to eight or nine months old. They generally mate for life and will occupy a range of around twelve to Seventy-five miles. Both the male and the female mark their territory and will defend it if necessary. When startled, the Dik-Dik leap through the grasses in a zigzag fashion making a sound that sounds as if they are saying Dik Dik. They leap and dash extremely fast as they run for cover.  They generally live out their lives in the same territory.

The adult female usually carries her young for five to six months and wean their young around three to four months. They can give birth up to twice per year and usually have only one kid at a time. The average lifespan of this small petite antelope is around ten years in the wild. They leave the parents territory by seven or eight months.

The Dik-Dik are not endangered in any way, though they have many predators. Their primary predators are lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and caracals, Younger Dik-Diks are sometimes carried off by eagles, baboons and genets (a nocturnal cat like mammal.)

Among all the many reasons to visit South Africa, surely one will be to see these miniature antelopes in their native lands. They are adorable and smaller than most dogs. If you have never considered taking a trip to South Africa, perhaps this would be a great year to plan a South African adventure.





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