Last night, when Tom showed me this video he’d seen on Facebook, I knew the moment I saw it, we needed to share it here today. Peter and Mary Craig-Cooper, the people who took this video, are popular photographers in Marloth Park whose photos and videos we’ve enjoyed over the past year. All other photos shown today are those we’ve taken.
The story that unfolds in the video is fascinating, leaving the viewer holding their breath while attempts are made to rescue this huge male, with their weight information listed below:
|Mom appeared to want to show her offspring how to drink from the river.|
Giraffes live in savannas throughout Africa. They like semi-arid, open woodlands with scattered trees and bushes, making the savannas perfect for these animals. According to the World Atlas, the tall creatures are native to Kenya, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, and South Africa.
Giraffes are so social that they don’t have territories. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a group of giraffes is aptly called a tower. Towers typically have 10 to 20 members. Who lives in the tower can vary. Some towers consist of all females and young, or all-male or mixed genders. According to the Animal Diversity Web, members are free to come and go as they please.
Giraffes only sleep around 20 minutes or less per day, according to PBS Nature. They usually get their sleep in quick power naps that last just a couple of minutes. Staying awake most of the time allows them to be constantly on alert for predators.
Every giraffe has two hair-covered horns called ossicones. Male giraffes use their horns to fight with one another playfully. They also spar by swinging their heads at one another and entwining their necks, called “necking.” [Images: Animals’ Dazzling Headgear]
|Down they went, in an awkward pose, to drink from the river.|
Giraffes are herbivores, which means they eat only plants. According to National Geographic, they can eat hundreds of pounds of leaves per week. Their long necks allow them to reach leaves, seeds, fruits, buds, and branches high up in mimosa and acacia trees.
Though these animals eat a lot, giraffes can go without drinking for weeks at a time. They get most of their moisture from the vegetation they eat.
As in cattle, female giraffes are called cows, while the males are called bulls. After mating, the cow will have a gestation period of around 14 months. Baby giraffes are called calves. The calf will drop to the ground during birth since mother giraffes give birth standing up. According to National Geographic, the fall can be as far as 5 feet (1.5 m).
According to the San Diego Zoo, new calves are quite large, at 6 feet tall (1.8 m), 100 to 150 lbs. (45 to 68 kg). They are also agile. They can stand up and walk around just an hour after birth. Giraffe mothers often take turns watching over the calves. Sometimes, though, the mother giraffe will leave the calf by itself. When this happens, the infant will lie down and wait for its mother to return.
|This lovely girl (determined by the hair on her ossicones) posed for a face shot.|
According to the University of Michigan, calves are weaned at around 12 months. At 3 to 6 years old, calves are fully mature. The animals can live 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20 to 25 years in captivity.
You will often see giraffes walking around with birds on their backs. These birds are called tick birds or oxpecker birds (Buphagus africanus). They eat bugs that live in the giraffe’s coat and alert the animals to danger by chirping loudly.
Even if you spent a lot of time with giraffes, you would never hear them make a noise. This is because giraffes communicate using noises that are too low for humans to hear, according to PBS Nature.
|This giraffe had five oxpeckers on its hide.|
Thanks to their long legs, giraffes are very fast. According to National Geographic, they can run 35 mph (56 km/h) in short bursts and run for longer stretches at ten mph (16 km/h).
Giraffes are even-toed ungulates, which means they have two weight-bearing hooves on each foot and are in the order Artiodactyla, which also includes antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep, caribou, moose, hippos, and pigs.”
Each time we encounter a giraffe, whether it’s in Marloth Park, Kruger National Park, or other wildlife parks in Africa that we’ve visited in the past over nine years, we are always in awe of their beauty, their gentle gait, their size, and their uniqueness. We are blessed to live among them!
Photo from one year ago today, February 2, 2021: