The dik-dik’s name is derived from the sound they make, when they feel threatened, dik-diks lie low to prevent detection. If they are discovered, they run in a swift, zigzag-like pattern, during this ‘defense’, they emit a wheezing and whistling warning sound “zik-zik” or “dik-dik”. To raise an alarm or to harass predators and publicize the presence of a mated pair.
These antelopes were called “dik-diks” by the early settlers and hunters as they ruined the hunter’s chances of shooting any larger game.
The Dik Dik belongs to a group of tiny antelopes that live throughout regions of Africa, of which there are four species, which make up the taxonomic genus Madoqua. Most of them stand just a foot tall.
The different species are the Silver, Salt’s, Gunther’s, and Kirk’s species.
Kirk’s dik-dik are the most common subspecies and are resident in Tanzania. The IUCN reports that their population could be over 1 million. Native to Eastern Africa.
Kirk’s dik-dik, the largest, stands only 35–45 cm (14–18 inches) tall and weighs 3.8–7.2 kg (8.4–15.8 pounds); females are 0.5–1 kg (1–2 pounds) heavier than males.
Kirk’s dik-diks, vary in color depending on their habitat but are typically yellowish-gray to reddish-brown on its back and grayish-white on their belly. Males have horns that are ringed and stout at the base, which are often concealed by a tuft of hair on their forehead.
These antelopes have beautiful, large, dark eyes surrounded by a white ring. And while their eyes are stunning, they provide more than just sight. Preorbital glands appear as a black spot below the inside corner of each eye. These glands produce a dark, sticky secretion used to scent-mark their territories.