Giraffe - did you know
- Lives in loose, unstable herds, individuals join and leave the herd at will. Herds can include mixed genders and ages. Mature bulls often roam alone but will associate with a herd that has an oestrous female in it.
- are not territorial and don't defend territories but males will develop a local hierarchy by fighting one another. Rival males will fight by swinging their necks and striking with their heads from the side.
- By kicking with either the fore- or hind feet, the giraffe's large hooves can break a lion's back.
- can run up to 55km/h but can hardly jump.
- will sleep standing up but will occassionally lie down to sleep. Usually only sleep a few minutes at a time.
- are browsers and have a black tongue.
- main food is the leaves of acacia trees. The presence of thorns on the trees protects the trees by slowing the browsing.
- male giraffes tend to feed with their head and neck completely stretched, while females will feed lower with their heads down.
- to drink a giraffe must either straddle or bend its forelegs. Are very vulnerable when they drink and always look around carefully before bending.
- a special blood vessel-system protects the brain from the sudden change that comes from raising and lowering the head.
- a giraffe will chew bones for its need to large quantities of calcium and phosporus. click here to watch a video of giraffes chewing bones at the Nkorho waterhole.
- female giraffes give birth standing up or walking. A giraffe calfs hides throughout most of the day and night of its first weeks, remaining on the ground.
- female giraffe horns are thin and tufted with black hair, male giraffe horns are thick but the hair is smoothed by sparring.
- Ancient Romans and Greeks thought that the Giraffe was a mix between a camel and leopard. This is where their scientific Genus name "cameleopardalis" comes from.
Giraffe drinking at Elephant Plains
Wild Ways – Peter Apps
Beat about the Bush – Trevor Carnaby
Safari Companion - Richard D. Estes
Behaviour guide to African mammals - Richard D. Estes
Kingdon Field Guide to African mammals - Jonathan Kingdon