Friday, March 28, 2014

Creature Feature #161: Dik-dik

The diminutive Dik-dik are small antelopes, standing 30-40 centimetres tall. The name is derived from the alarm call, emitted by the female. Dwelling in the savannah and shrubland, Dik-diks form monogamous pairs, occupying territories of up to five hectares. They keep in contact with one another by shrill whistles. Only the male has horns, although the female is slightly larger. Beneath each eye, a naked dark spot indicates the presence of a preorbital gland, which the Dik-dik uses for scent marking. He rubs this gland against blades of grass and branches to define his territory. When other Dik-dik invade his territory, he will dash towards the intruder and the two will stop, nod furiously and turn around. This behaviour is repeated with the gap between them growing greater every time until one beats a retreat.

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