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
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!