Dik-dik – Tears of Assertion

Tears of Assertion

     Although it’s not the smallest of the antelope, the Kirk’s Dik-dik is by no means a giant either.  It measures in at approximately 15 inches at the shoulder and tips the scale at less than 15 pounds.  Neither is the species a herding type of ungulate, preferring instead to share a territory while maintaining a monogamous relationship.  One way male and female Dik-diks affirm their property rights is by scent-marking their territory.  The Dik-diks’ anatomy bears special dark-colored organs located just in front of each eye called preorbital glands.  The glands secrete a fluid that relates information about the presence and status of the Dik-dik.  Here, a female Dik-dik deposits her “tears of assertion” from her right preorbital gland onto a twig:  “This territory is taken!”

~ Anecdote and Dik-dik capture, Tears of Assertion © Jerry L. Ferrara.  Tanzania, East Africa