Checked content


Related subjects: Mammals

About this schools Wikipedia selection

This Schools selection was originally chosen by SOS Children for schools in the developing world without internet access. It is available as a intranet download. Visit the SOS Children website at

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Madoqua
Ogilby, 1837

Madoqua gunther
Madoqua kirkii
Madoqua piacentinii
Madoqua saltiana

A dik-dik, pronounced "dĭk’ dĭk", and named for the sound it makes when alarmed, is a small antelope of the Genus Madoqua that lives in the bush of southern and eastern Africa and Southeast Asia. Dik-diks stand 30–40 cm at the shoulder and weigh 3–6 kg, making them the smallest of the ruminant species. They have an elongated snout and a soft coat that is grey or brownish above and white below. The hair on the crown forms an upright tuft that sometimes partially conceals the short, ringed horns of the male.

Physical characteristics

Female dik-diks are somewhat larger than males. The males have horns, which are small (about 3 in or 7.5 cm), slanted backwards. The head of the dik-dik often seems disproportionate to the animal's small body. The upper body is grey-brown, while the lower parts of the body, including the legs, belly, crest, and flanks, are tan.


Dik-diks seek habitats with plentiful supply of edible grasses and shrubs, but prefer foliage that is not so tall as to obstruct their sight lines. They live in open plains amongst other grass-eaters such as giraffes, zebras, and other antelopes. Dik-diks may live in places as varied as dense forest or open plain, but they must have good cover and not too much tall grass or plants. They will move when the grass grows too tall for them to see over. They usually live in pairs over a 12-acre territory. The territories are often in low, shrubby bush along dry, rocky streambeds where there are plenty of hiding places. Dik-diks have a series of runways through and around the borders of their territories to block off other Dik-diks, mainly females. They live in east Africa.


Dik-diks are herbivores, consuming foliage, shoots, fruit and berries. Dik-diks consume sufficient amounts of water for hydration, making drinking unnecessary. Their special shaped head gives them the ability to eat the leaves between the spikes on the Acacia trees, and the ability to feed while still keeping their head high for observation for predators.

Social Structure

Dik-diks form monogamous relationships within defined territories. At birth fawns weigh about 1.5 lb (0.7 kg), and reach sexual maturity in six to eight months.


Dik-diks are hunted primarily by monitor lizards, eagles, pythons, smaller cats such as the caracal, as well as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and jackals.


There are four species of dik-dik:

  • Madoqua gunther Günther, 1894 Günther's Dik-dik
  • Madoqua kirkii ( Günther, 1880) Kirk's Dik-dik
  • Madoqua piacentinii Drake-Brockman, 1911 Silver Dik-dik
  • Madoqua saltiana ( Desmarest, 1816) Salt's Dik-dik

Retrieved from ""