These Tiny Antelopes Mark Their Territory Using Their Tears

There’s something about making an animal smaller that always seems to make it even cuter — and dik-diks are no exception. 

Madeleine Dammann/

Dik-diks are among the smallest kinds of antelope in the world, and they’re absolutely adorable. These mini antelopes are found throughout Africa, and they live together in monogamous pairs. While pairs of dik-diks often live near each other, each pair has their own area, and the way they mark their territory is just another part of how precious they are. 


While the pairs partially mark their territory using dung and urine (which isn’t as cute), they also mark twigs all around their area using tar-like secretions from their preorbital glands, which are similar to tear glands in humans. 

In other words, dik-diks mark their territory using their tears. 


Not only does each pair do this, but sometimes their kids even help out as well, and there’s nothing sweeter than imagining an entire family of dik-diks rubbing their tears on nearby branches and twigs in order to show everyone where their home is. 

Michael Wick/

Besides their unusual way of marking their territory, some other things that make dik-diks particularly cute are the fact that they’re barely a foot tall, and they have a tendency to run in a zigzag pattern whenever they feel threatened and are looking to take cover. 

Anna Morgan/

So not only are dik-diks adorable — but they’re also super interesting and unique little animals.

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