Head Scout’s daily report
Reporting date: 14.06.2011
When frightened, or disturbed, dikdiks produce a whistling sound through their nose that sounds like 'Zik - Zik, from which their name is derrived. Dikdiks belong to a group of 13 antelopes called the 'Dwarf antelopes' in TRIBE Neotragini. The most common of the 4 species of Dikdiks in Africa is the Kirk's long-snouted dikdiks (Madoqua kirkii) a tiny antelope with large dark eyes surrounded by a white ring. A black spot below the inside corner of each eye contains a preorbital gland that produces a dark sticky secretion. Like other Dikdiks Kirk's dikdik also insert grass stems and twigs into the gland to scent-mark their territories.
To prevent overheating while minimizing need for water, the dikdik has evolved a particular cooling mechanism where their elongated snouts have bellows-like muscles by which blood is pumped. Airflow and subsequent evaporation cools this blood before it is recirculated to the body. However, this panting is only implemented in extreme conditions—dikdiks can tolerate temperatures of up to 40° C/104° Fahrenheit. Dikdiks form monogamous pairs in fixed territories of low bush along dry, rocky stream beds. They mark their territory with dung deposits and with secretions from the preorbital gland. Sight, scent and hearing are well-developed, and dikdiks are very alert. They respond to the alarm calls of other animals. When in danger they tend to hide instead of flee.
Dikdik females give birth to a single offspring after a gestation of 6 months. Both parents care for the young, who often stays with them until the mother’s next birth. At this point, the parents will chase off the subadult.
Dikdiks eat foliage, shoots, fruit and berries. They are water-independent, getting water from the vegetation they eat. Appropriately, they are largely nocturnal, avoiding the heat of the day and unnecessary water loss. Salt is important to the dikdik's diet, but it does not need to drink as sufficient liquid is contained in the plants it consumes.
To view the sighted animals table click the "Read more" button.