Duiker are a small antelope that live in savanna woodlands near rivers in a wide range across West and Central Africa. They are herbivores.
Duiker (pronounced DIE-ker) derives from the Dutch duiken which means "to dive." Duiker dive for cover into a thicket with head down at any sign of danger. They have many predators: leopards, small cats, civets, eagles, large owls, pythons, monitors and crocodiles.
Duiker behavior and facts
- Duiker eat fruits, flowers and foliage from trees, shrubs and herbs near rivers. They have been observed to eat insects, eggs and carrion.
- Coloration: bright orange on face, neck and flanks; brown or blue-gray gauntlets on legs; brown or gray dorsal patch with pale gray underfur; black nose and lips; white jaw and upper lip; black and white striped ears; large preorbital gland (dark slit under and slightly forward of the eye; arched back ; short legs
- As prey to so many animals, duiker have acute vision and hearing.
- Duiker are believed to be crepuscular (active at dusk or before dawn) or nocturnal.
- They are shy but intolerant of the same sex and fight often; they actively mark their territory.
- Duiker have a shrill bark or bleat, used to attract other duiker.
From birth to death
- Gestation: 245 days
- One young, rarely twins, is born in the dry season; it hides in dense cover for the first few weeks.
- Young are weaned by five months.
- Sexual maturity: female 9 to 12 months, male 12 to 18 months
- Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
- Body length: 2 to 2.3 feet
- Height at shoulder: 12 to 16 inches
- Horns: male and female have 1.2 to 3.8 inch horns that are straight, slender and project backward. Horns may be hidden by the dark forelock (hair that falls forward between the ears).
- Weight: 20 to 26 pounds
Though duiker are hunted for meat in Africa, and their habitat is increasingly encroached upon by humans, they are resilient and are not listed as threatened.
Duikers, the Oregon Zoo and you
The zoo's has four duiker, which live in the Africa Rainforest exhibit: Casius, Garnet, Kandungo and an unnamed female. They consume a diet of herbivore pellets, alfalfa cubes, grass hay and chopped apple, carrot and sweet potatoes along with other produce.