April 2024

Kirk’s dikdik

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Kirk’s dikdik

This photo offers a great opportunity to get to grips with the physiological detail of this dwarf antelope. What do you see when you look at this little chap? I see huge eyes! I would say they are quite active at night and their night vision is pretty good. I see well developed glands in front and beneath the eyes.

These glands are used to communicate with one another through chemical messages. A secretion left on a nearby stick oozing a scent that tells a story, even after the animal is long gone - how very clever! I like to call the pasted sticks little air traffic control towers, continually sending out messages.

I see the coat is grizzled salt & pepper grey with warm hints of ochre, quite distinctive of this small antelope species. Look at the white lining to the mouth, eyes and ears almost helping to highlight these features! Perhaps used for visual communication? Small, sharp little horns and a little crest on the top of the head. The little extended snout moves from side to side in the breeze as it detects scents wisping on by. A monogamous pair will occupy a small territory and defend this against other dikdik individuals. Quite the character, I think you’ll agree!

Paulo Kivuyo
By Paulo Kivuyo
Field Guide