The tiny Dik-Dik

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The is a dwarf antelope, with a small number of sub-species living in East and South West Africa.

Both the Damara and Kirk’s Dik-Dik were until recently considered the same species and are basically identical in appearance. The tiny size and elongated, very mobile snout, erectile crest of hair on the top of the head are diagnostic. Upperparts are yellowish-grey and grizzled, with white underparts and a white ring around each eye. The rump area usually greyer than rest of body. Legs are yellowish-brown in colour. Only ram carries short, spiky and strongly ringed horns.

 

Kirk’s occurs in East Africa over much of Tanzania, widely in Kenya and marginally in north-eastern Uganda. The Damara is restricted to Namibia and south-western Angola. Kirk’s is only huntable in Tanzania and the Damara in Namibia.

Guenther’s Dik-Dik is present in northern Kenya, north-eastern Uganda, southern Ethiopia and into Somalia. It has the most elongated snout, or proboscis. Overall coat colour is greyish-fawn, with distinct grizzling showing from silvery-white hairs. Lower legs are reddish-fawn without any interspersed white hairs. The head is more reddish-brown than the rest of the body and underparts are paler to white, and a white-ring of short hairs may, or may not, be present around the eyes. There is a distinct crest of reddish hair on the top of the head which is raised when the animal is alarmed or there is interaction between individuals. Rams sport short, ringed, back-angled horns.

Guenther’s Dik-Dik

Habitats

All species occupy rather dry and arid bush country, with a strong association with thorn trees (Acacia) and dense undergrowth. In some areas Damara and Kirk’s live on bush-covered hill slopes and fringing scrub cover at their bases. Guenther’s require dense thicket to provide cover.

Damara Dik-Dik in Etosha, Nambia

Food

Dik-Dik mainly browse on including leaves, pods and flowers knocked down by such species as greater kudu, elephant and baboon, but also eat some green grass. There are seasonal food preferences and they readily dig for roots and bulbs with the front hooves.