A Dik-Dik (Madoqua) is a small antelope that lives in the bushland of eastern and southern Africa. Female Dik-Dik are larger than the males and they both have a light brown coat. When scared, the Dik-Dik produces a panicked sound which sounds like “Zik zik”, which is possibly how the Dik-Dik got its name. Their hooves have rubbery bottoms, ideal for rocky areas.

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Female Dik-Dik are somewhat larger than males. Only the males have horns which are small (about 7.6 centimetres or 3 in), slanted backwards and longitudinally grooved. The hair on the crown forms an upright tuft that sometimes partially conceals the short, ribbed horns of the male. The upper body is grey-brown, while the lower parts of the body, including the legs, belly, crest, and flanks, are tan. A bare black spot below the inside corner of each eye contains a preorbital gland that produces a dark, sticky secretion. Dik-Dik insert grass stems and twigs into the gland to scent-mark their territories.

Perhaps to prevent overheating, Dik-Dik have elongated snouts with bellows-like muscles through which blood is pumped. Airflow and subsequent evaporation cools this blood before it is recirculated to the body. However, this panting is only implemented in extreme conditions; Dik-Dik can tolerate air temperatures of up to 40 °C (104 °F).

Dik-Dik have special physiological adaptations to help them survive in arid environments. For instance, Dik-Dik have a lower density of sweat glands compared to other animals such as cattle. Similarly, in more arid environments, Dik-Diks can concentrate their urine. These adaptations help Dik-Dik preserve body water. Because of their small body size, Dik-Dik are predicted to have among the highest metabolic rates and highest energy requirement per kilogram of all ruminants. However, Dik-Dik have a lower metabolic rate than would be predicted for their size as a physiological adaptation to heat and aridity.

Dik-Dik are herbivores. Their diet mainly consists of foliage, shoots, fruit and berries, but little or no grass. They receive sufficient amounts of water from their food, which makes drinking unnecessary. Like all even-toed ungulates, they digest their food with the aid of micro-organisms in their four-chambered stomachs. After initial digestion, the food is repeatedly eructated and rechewed, a process known also as rumination, or ‘chewing of cud. Dik-Diks’ tapering heads may help them eat the leaves between the spines on Acacia trees, and feed while still keeping their head high to detect predators.

The lifespan of Dik-Dik in the wild is typically 5 years, but may surpass 10 years. In captivity, males have been known to live up to 16.5 years, while females have lived up to 18.4 years.

Dik-Dik are monogamous, and conflicts between territorial neighbours are rare. When they occur, the males from each territory dash at each other, either stop short or make head-to-head contact, then back off for another round, with head crests erected. Males mark their territories with dung piles, and cover the females’ dung with their own. One suggestion for monogamy in Dik-Dik is that it may be an evolutionary response to predation; surrounded by predators, it is dangerous to explore, looking for new partners. Pairs spend about 64% of their time together. Males, but not females, will attempt to initiate extra-pair mating if an opportunity arises.

Females are sexually mature at six months and males at 12 months. The female gestates for 169 to 174 days and bears a single offspring. This happens up to twice a year (at the start and finish of the rainy season). Unlike other ruminants which are born forefeet first, the Dik-Dik is born nose first, with its forelegs laid back alongside its body. Females weigh about 560 to 680 g (1.23 to 1.50 lb) at birth, while males weigh 725 to 795 g (1.598 to 1.753 lb). The mother lactates for six weeks, feeding her fawn for no longer than a few minutes at a time. The survival rate for young Dik-Diks is 50%. The young stay concealed for a time after birth, but grow quickly and reach full size by seven months. At that age, the young are forced to leave their parents’ territory. The fathers run the sons off the territory and the mothers run off the daughters.

Dik-Dik are hunted by Leopard, Caracal, Lion, Hyena, Wild Dog. Other predators may include, Monitor Lizard, Cheetah, Jackal, Baboon, Eagle, Hawk and Python. Dik-Dik adaptations to predation include excellent eyesight, the ability to reach speeds up to 42 km/h (26 mph), and high birth rates.


Dik-Dik live in shrublands and savannahs of eastern Africa. Dik-Dik seek habitats with a plentiful supply of edible plants such as shrubs. Dik-Dik may live in places as varied as dense forest or open plain, but they require good cover and not too much tall grass.  They usually live in pairs in territories of about 5 hectares (12 acres). The territories are often in low, shrubby bushes (sometimes along dry, rocky stream beds) with plenty of cover. Dik-Dik, with their dusty coloured coat, are able to blend in with their surroundings. Dik-Dik have an established series of runways through and around the borders of their territories that are used when they feel threatened.


What is Dik-Dik Taxidermy?

Dik-Dik taxidermy is the art of preserving the Dik-Dik skin and other body parts to produce lifelike sculptures for display, either at home as a hunting trophy or in museums for educational purposes. Skin is preserved and mounted on an artificial armature to display the specimen.

The contemporary English word “taxidermy” is derived from the Greek terms taxis, meaning “movement,” and derma, meaning “skin,” thereby combining these two meanings. This is why, in a broad sense, taxidermy is synonymous with “the motion of skin.”

For expert taxidermists, skills in sculpture, painting, and sketching are just as important as those in carpentry, woodworking, tanning, moulding, and casting.

The remaining parts of the body are synthetic replacements for real organs and tissues. Polyurethane foam is used for the manikin or form, which includes the anatomy of every muscle and vein; glass is used for the eyes; clay is used for the eyelids; for the nose and mouth the foam of the mannequin is sculptured.

Works of taxidermy can be found in a wide range of environments, including museums, classrooms, galleries, stores, restaurants, and private households, due to the complexity and delicate craftsmanship involved in the taxidermy process.

Thorough preparation is the key factor to ensuring a high-quality final product. All hides are tanned and oiled using the world’s very best available chemicals and processes to ensure permanence and longevity. Forms are selected to ensure the best fit and posture will be altered to suit you, the client’s preference without additional cost. Natural habitat bases are custom-made for full mount trophies without additional cost. Only the finest materials and 40 years of professional experience are used in defining your trophies in a whole new way. The final trophies are almost Life-Formed. When the restoration is required, every effort is made to repair cuts and abrasions, and to minimise bullet damage. Natural scarring is kept unless otherwise requested.

Hunting Dik-Dik 

These little antelopes are often spotted by just walking and stalking in the likely habitat while keeping a watchful eye out. The Dik-Dik is most easily spotted and hunted at night or early morning.

In Namibia, female Damara Dik-Dik are bigger than males, so keep that in mind while making your prey selections. The males are distinguished by their long, slanted horns that measure around three inches in length. After being startled, a Damara Dik-Dik will take off in a series of stiff-legged bounds. They have shock-absorbing pads on the bottoms of their hooves.

Any small calibre centrefire firearm is suitable for hunting Dik-Dik. A high-quality bullet is essential. When shooting, you don’t want a bullet that explodes on impact and damages the skin.

The Dik-Dik taxidermist’s process and method

When making an Dik-Dik mount, careful planning is key to getting a high-quality result. When tanning and oiling the skins, only the best chemicals and methods are used. This ensures that the skins will last for many years.

Your preferred form for the Dik-Dik will be chosen after taking your measurements into account, and the posture of your form will be changed at no extra cost. Full-mount Dik-Dik trophies come with bases made to look like the animal’s natural habitat and made just for the Dik-Dik mount.

The taxidermy process at Life-Form takes your prized Dik-Dik trophy and gives it a whole new meaning by using only the best materials and drawing on more than 40 years of experience in the field.

When repair is needed, every effort is made to fix cuts and scrapes and lessen bullet damage. Existing scars are left alone unless the client asks for them to be taken away.

Taking care of your Dik-Dik trophy

Using the helpful tips below, it’s important to take extra care of your prized Dik-Dik trophy to make sure it stays in perfect shape for years to come.

  • To keep your Dik-Dik mounts looking their best, it’s important to put them in the right place with the right temperature and humidity.
  • To keep your mounts from fading over time, try not to hang them next to a sunny window where they will be in direct sunlight for a long time. If you can, don’t put taxidermy near direct heat sources like furnace vents or wood stoves.
  • A taxidermy trophy should be handled and cared for like any other expensive and fine piece of art. Mounts should only be touched when they need to be.
  • If you want your mounts to look their best, you should dust them often and gently. A feather duster works well, and then you can wipe away any remaining dust with a damp cloth in the direction of the hair.
  • People often say that things like furniture polish work well to clean hair or fur, but you should avoid using them. Over time, these things can actually gather more dust and moisture.
  • You can also use compressed air or a vacuum with a soft brush for the scenery. Be careful to work gently and follow the natural direction of the skin.
  • Use a Q-tip dipped in glass cleaner to clean the eyes, and then use a clean, dry swab to polish them.
  • Even the most prestigious museums and trophy rooms have had items damaged by insects. Moths and tiny demisted or carpet beetles are the two types of insects that are responsible for this problem, so it is worth fumigating the room regularly.
  • A fine repellent mist should be sprayed all over the mount, and then the product should be carefully combed into the hair. A blow dryer can be used to restore the fluffy appearance of the fur on animals that have it.


How much does a Dik-Dik trophy cost?

The pricing of any trophy is subject to the costing stipulated per taxidermy order, quantity of trophies and preferred mounting options, along with additional requirements.

Should you wish to receive a quotation prior to the hunt, the taxidermist can generate such for you. Please contact [email protected]

How long does a Dik-Dik trophy take?

Taxidermy is an art form that involves a complicated step-by-step process to make sure that each trophy looks just right and is of a high enough quality that it will last your whole life.

The time it takes a taxidermist to mount an animal might range from days to weeks, and possibly several months, depending on the quantity of trophies per taxidermy order, the display preferences, and volumes of client trophies to be produced, simultaneously, per production schedule.

This depends largely on the “what, how, when” factors. A taxidermy order also only becomes available for production scheduling upon receipt of the required deposit and trophy mounting instructions.

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