Yellow-Backed Duiker

Yellow-backed duikers get their name from the yellow hairs (rest of the body is blackish-brown) that run down their arched backs. Their short front legs and tall back legs result in this arched back – an adaptation for diving swiftly into vegetation for safety. Yellow-backed duikers have the largest brain relative to body size of any antelope as well as acute senses of vision and hearing. They will often follow birds or primates around to eat any dropped fruit. These duikers are generally seen alone or in pairs as they are very shy and elusive. Both males and females possess short horns, but it is thought that the females are more territorial because their horns are regularly broken. They also possess preorbital glands, which they use to mark their territory. Males will fight when their territory is invaded. Females may share territory with a single male if they are in a semi-detached pair relationship.

Yellow-Backed Duiker

Cephalophus silvicultor

Habitat: African tropical rainforests

Diet in the wild: Leaves, fruits, shoots, buds, seeds, fungi, moss, bark, will sometimes eat insects and birds

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Bananas with peel, yams, pears, apples, herbivore diet, dog chow, browser biscuit, alfalfa

Size: Weigh up to 175 pounds

Family: The baby duikers’ characteristic yellow rump begins to show at one month of age but will not be fully grown until about 10 months

Status: Near Threatened

Did you know? The name “duiker” is the Afrikaan’s word for “diver,” referring to the duikers’ instinct to dive into dense vegetation for cover when frightened.

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