Kirk's dik dik
Kirk's dik diks are shy elusive creatures, who pair for life and maintain family territories. Their distinctive zig-zag path of escape and 'dik-dik' call of alarm have earnt them their name.
Body length 60-72cm, tail length 4-9cm, horn length 4-9cm, weight 4.5-6kg
Kirk's dik diks are yellowish grey to reddish brown on their backs, and greyish to white on their undersides. Short, ringed horns are found on the males. Dik diks have large eyes surrounded by whitish rings of fur and an elongated nose.
Northern and central Tanzania, central and southern Kenya, south-western Angola and Namibia.
Arid bush land with heavy ground cover.
They feed on grasses, shrubs, tree leaves, herbs and sedges.
Kirk's dik diks are very shy creatures, spending much of their time hidden in bushland. When startled they will take off in a zig-zag path of escape, calling 'zik-zik' or 'dik-dik', which is where they get their name. Dik diks form permanent pair bonds and all families have territories which the male of the adult pair defends from intruders. They generally feed from dawn to mid-morning and from mid-afternoon to evening.
Females become sexually mature at 6 months and males at 12 months of age. Adults form permanent pair bonds occupying ranges between 5 and 30 hectares. The breeding season occurs twice a year, with births peaking around November-December and April-May. Gestation lasts for 169-174 days producing a single offspring at a time. The young are weaned after 6 weeks and fully grown by 7 months of age.
In order to conserve water, Kirk's dik diks have very dry faeces and the most concentrated urine of all ungulates. This enables them to survive long periods without access to water. Their long proboscis (nose) acts as a heat exchange system to cool blood travelling to the brain.