On 8 December, the first baby dik-dik antelope was born at the Moscow Zoo.
“The young calf with all of its four small hoofs can easily be held in the palm of a male’s hand,” the zoo’s press service staff said. “It weighs a mere 600 grams.”
According to the press service, during the first two months, the baby will be fed milk by its mother and later will gradually switch to adult food. The diet of dik-dik antelopes is similar to that of giraffes, with the only difference being that giraffes eat leaves growing high on the trees, whereas pygmy antelopes prefer those that are closer to the ground.
“By spring, the baby dik-dik antelope will weigh about 1.8 kilograms, that is, almost as much as an adult animal,” the press service said. “The size of a dik-dik antelope is comparable to that of a domestic cat: it is 30-40 centimetres high and weighs about six kilogrammmes.”
Visitors can already view the young antelope at the African Animals pavilion.
The press service added that this year, the Moscow Zoo had seen nothing short of a baby boom among its residents. The recently born babies include a gorilla, mongooses, a sea lion, a hare, a lion-tailed macaque, a Sichuan golden goat antelope and flamingo chicks and many others. The young pygmy antelope was the last baby to be born at the Moscow Zoo in 2016. The next breeding season is expected in 2017.
Currently, four pygmy antelopes live in Moscow: two males, one female and a baby antelope, whose gender will be known in a couple of months. The tiny animals with a funny name were brought to Moscow in June 2016 and they are already feeling at home on the new territory: they are on friendly terms with their neighbours – black antelopes – and willingly interact with visitors to the zoo.
These cloven-hoofed owe their name to the sounds they make at a time of danger. They instantaneously dive into bushes and from there make sounds similar to dik-dik. “Most likely, you’ll see a dik-dik antelope in the cool of the morning or the evening,” the Moscow Zoo staff said. “In the daytime, the animals hide from the sun in the bushes, with only their ears sticking out of there.”