Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Male Giraffe Behaviour

Despite its extreme length, a giraffe's neck is nonetheless too short to reach the ground/water or in this case a "salt-lick". Since I've discussed the difference in colour, patches and patterns of giraffe-coats before [SEE: previous blog-entries, esp during April 2013] today I want to concentrate on giraffe-facts, i.e. behaviour traits mostly "connected" to the giraffe's neck.

2 different giraffe the same "behaviour" (I photographed the giraffe above in the Pilansberg Game reserve whereas this giraffe "hails" from Namibia) - both look awkward as they have to spread their front legs in order to reach the ground.

During the same awkward-looking manoeuvre when reaching down to drink, a jugular vein contaning a series of 1-way valves prevents the back-flow of blood when a giraffe's head is bent down - this in fact prevents the giraffe from blacking out!

Another giraffe-way of reaching the water level to drink is to bend its knees (instead of spreading)  . . .

. . . so these 2 drinking giraffe obligingly demonstrate both ways of reaching low at one-and-the-same-time :)

Since giraffe usually only sleep for approx 5 minutes, they tend to rest whilst standing up. However they sometimes do lie down on the ground to sleep, in which case a giraffe tucks its front legs under itself . . .

. . . and holds its head up (or curls its neck back to rest its head on its rump).

Giraffe can moo, his, roar or whistle - although that is rarely heard. However finding male giraffe using their necks as weapons in combat occurs regularly - this behaviour is known as "necking", which is employed to establish dominance.

During "low" intensity necking, the combatants rub & lean against each other; however during "high" intensity bouts the combatants swing their necks at each other, landing heavy blows.

After a duel it is common behaviour for the 2 male giraffe to caress & court each other, leading to mounting & climax. Such interactions between male giraffe was found to happen far more frequently than heterosexual coupling.

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