Today we have a tiny little antelope in the genus Madoqua that lives in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa called a dik-dik (suggested by Jacob of Jaywalks). Smaller than many dogs, they got their unusual name from the sound of the whistle they make with their noses when they sense danger. Their noses are prehensile which means they can also grab things with it. As cute and tiny as they are, they still aren’t the tiniest antelope on the planet as that unique honor goes to the rabbit-sized West African royal antelope. Though not winning the race for smallest, dik-diks stand only about 12–16 inches (30–40 cm) at the shoulder.

Though most antelopes live in herds, the dik-diks live as couples. Once they find their soulmate, they settle down to raise a family and stay together for life. Like human mothers, the female usually only has one baby at a time. Unlike human mothers, they kick the kid out of the house when they are mature at about 7 months old.  Actually, the mothers kick out the female kids and the males have “the talk” with their son to let him know it’s time to fend for himself and well… get the hell of out of mom and dad’s territory.

In order to mark their territory, the dik-dik uses its tears. They will purposefully poke their eyes with grass and twigs to make themselves “cry” which spreads the preorbital glandular fluid that comes from the black spot in the corner of their eyes. And lastly, a dik-dik pro top – don’t challenge them to a race unless you’re riding a scooter, as they can reach speeds of up to 42 mph (67 kph). Though there’s no data to suggest they gloat upon winning, best to assume defeat before even attempting to race one.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink and second pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

58 replies on “The Dik-Dik

  1. what a precious creature you painted. I first saw it and signed an “awwww – how cute!” Then I saw the name and had to laugh! Then so interesting to read about how it uses its tears! Another beautiful fascinating creature you taught me about. Thank you Charlie! 🙂

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  2. Yes!! This is absolutely beautiful, Charlie! And so quickly after the infantile obsession flared up, too.😉 The eyes are every bit as deep and swoon-worthy as his Google image counterparts. It’s fun to learn a bit about them beyond their interesting name aswell – so that’s where it comes from – I don’t like the idea of poking myself in the eye, so respect to the dik-dik indeed, or the pair of dik-diks, as appropriate.

    Seriously though, I want to reach out and stroke your dik-dik (ehem). Another one for the list, methinks…

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    1. Lol… Thanks Jacob!! Yes…add that one to the list! And careful…the adults may still be listening in on our conversations. Hehe… Thanks so much for the suggestion. These little guys are so cute and I’d never heard of them before! This one goes on the pet list, I’m sure the seal won’t mind.

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      1. Well, so long as I don’t get you in trouble with Phineas! If he’s shooting you filthy looks today then we know he’s been reading doodlewash.

        Oh, I reckon Mr Seal would pop his head out of the water to survey the competition. Can you imagine? It’d be a continuous cuteness contest between dik-dik and seal! Both winners, of course.

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  3. Those eyes! Looks like a manga character. Thanks for the lovely painting and interesting information🙂 . A prehensile nose! Now that would be a fun party trick… I didn’t know such small antelopes existed. And I couldn’t help but “over-read” your conversation with Jacob. You two are too funny.

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    1. Thanks Myriam!! 😃💕 Those are manga eyes…hehe…I couldn’t resist them!! And that would be an insane party trick…I think if someone grabbed my drink out of my hand with their nose, I’d probably decide it was time to stop drinking and go home! Lol And see?! I told Jacob people could hear us!! 😊

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      1. Lol😀 ! If everyone at the party started holding their drinks with their noses I would definitely wonder what I was drinking! I try to read other people’s comments sometimes. Always a few laughs and words of wisdom.

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  4. I saw some on the isle of Mnemba off Zanzibar many years ago on a lovely trip, not repeated since, alas. They are the cutest things and very shy. But I didn’t know about the nose, or the tears, so thanks for that info(no wifi on the island!)

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  5. Oh, Charlie! I laughed out loud when I saw the name but the eye, so cute! So adorable I just had to come in and comment even tho I swore off blogging until my to do list comes down a few notches. Love the eye on this one so much. Have a great week my bro and pal! 💜💚💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww…love that you sneaked in to say hi sis! 💜💜😃 I was wondering if the eye would lure you. Hehe… This little creatures are just too adorable for words! Sending you high energy and hyper-productive vibes ✨✨✨✨ with love! 💕 Hope everything is going well so far!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful painting, once again the eyes are so lovely, able to melt hearts in seconds, well, at least mine. lol. Have always adored these creatures, seeing this delightfully cute portrait and feature is a sweet treat. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. I’ve actually heard of these! I just love its name! I think humans are the only ones whose age of “adulthood” gets older over time. It seems like kids are kept home well into adulthood these days.. Lol. Very adorable, Charlie!! ❤️

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