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Giraffe

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

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WestCoaster
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Unread postby WestCoaster » Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:39 am

I assume the animal was an old specimen.
I've seen this before a few times.
On investigation with our wildlife expert and vet, I discovered that a giraffe's diet comprises young shoots at the tips of branches, and so, as a matter of logistics, chew the branch, twigs and thorns upon which the young shoots are fastened.
This results in the wearing away of their molars.
The giraffe who survives predator attacks and bullets, to make it to old age, usually dies as a result of being badly out of condition due to severe ulcerations in the mouth, caused by broken and eroded tooth stumps that are no longer able to crush the foods to the point where the stomach can extract the goodness. Ultimately, death will come fairly quickly in the form of a combination of starvation, inability to swallow due to ulceration of the teeth, gums, throat and jaw, parasitic attacks (internal and external), general debilitation and weakness which robs them of the strength to get themselves up after a fall, mud bath or wallow, cancerous tumours, injuries that will not heal, internal organ failure and generalized infections and inflammations.
Yes, lymph glands might be affected too.
There are various lymph glands scattered all around the body, as is the case in all mammals.

Krokodile, your giraffe's injury looks like an old infected wound that is still festering, probably caused by a predator's tooth or claw, judging from it's position on the back of the left leg.
Notice the three parallel claw marks on the outside of the right leg just below the knee in the bottom picture, which is typical of a lion attack (you might have to save the pic to your C: drive and enlarge it to see this). Due to the obvious lengthy duration of the infection indicated by the necrotic tissue around the wound, the chances of such an injury healing itself now are remote, and the animal will most likely succumb as the infection travels around in the blood.
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kwenga
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Unread postby kwenga » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:06 pm

Agree with old wound, don't agree with infection, at least not any more. It looks all pretty dry, there's no swelling in the tissue surrounding the wound and, as Krokodile said, no impairment of function. Looks more like what is called 'wild flesh', which occurs often round untreated wounds in a body region where there's a lot of movement (and a joint surely is such a region). So the infection may already have disappeared or may be encapsulated quite safely. Not pretty, but not necessarily an immediate reason to drop dead.

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Unread postby Tabs » Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:48 pm

Krokodile wrote:Thanks for your opinions. I'll also go along with the old injury but not infected anymore. If it was, I'm sure we would have observed a limp or something, but the giraffe moved just like any other healthy giraffe!

What looked so odd was that the skin seemed to go under as well as around the growth. Incidentally, it was not a very big giraffe - not sure it was even full grown.


The leg is pretty badly swollen around and above the 'growth' - surely that is normally a sign of serious infection?
The giraffe may not 'limp' if you think about the slow and sedentary way that they move normally - but what if it was startled???
I don't actually think it is a growth myself, I believe that it is the result of a serious injury and is a 'swelling'
It would be interesting to find out the truth of this though!

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Tabs
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Re: Giraffe Deformity

Unread postby Tabs » Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:29 pm

Krokodile wrote:Near Shingwedzi on the S50 in May, we came upon a giraffe with a strange looking deformity to its back leg.



Krokodile - I posted your pics on the Wildlifecampus Yahoo group and got this reply from one member:

A while ago I saw a similar looking growth on the rump of a giraffe, and when I got back I described it to a ranger. He said it sounded like a cancerous growth, that although rare, giraffes sometimes get. This one looks similar, so maybe that's what it is.

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Unread postby Krokodile » Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:54 pm

Cheers for that, Tabs

I'm not convinced. I'm no vet, but it looks like a strange part of the body to have a cancerous growth. I personally think that it's more likely to be a badly healed injury, but would love to hear the opinion of a vet.

The other pictures look like a bad case of warts! Maybe some kind of blood-borne parasite?

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Unread postby floydy » Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:56 am

kwenga wrote:
The other pictures look like a bad case of warts! Maybe some kind of blood-borne parasite?

That was my first thought as well, a really nasty case of papillomatosis (= warts all over the place) which is caused by the papilloma virus. I'm not familiar with wildlife diseases of Southern Africa, so maybe a local vet would be more helpful in solving that question :)


Hi Guys, thanx for the info. It is the first time I had seen something like this.

Kwenga, our guide at the time told us it was a virus :!: so he ws correct on that score, but then mentioned that the 'warts/lumps' fell off. I found this rather difficult to beleive.

Where is Danie and the team :?: They must have a vet that can assist us :? So until then, I can say our friendly vet Kwenga, has confirmed that it is a bad case of warts caused by a virus. :lol:
Frogs have it easy - they can eat what BUGS them!

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Unread postby gwendolen » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:11 am

floydy wrote:Quite amazing! :shock: And here, us poor humans have to have the things burnt off! :cry:

Warts on humans disappear too after time. It's just a virus. Whether you burn them off or not is up to you.

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Sexing Giraffe

Unread postby Naturesguy » Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:26 pm

Here is a bit of handy info for you all, how to sex a Giraffe when it is drinking? The males splay their legs when drinking, and the females, well they are ladies, and as such keep their front legs together when drinking. Neat hey???

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Unread postby CurtisDillon » Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:49 pm

floydy wrote:Hi Guys

Interesting! I came accross a giraffe whose head and neck was covered in 'lumps'! could someone shed some light on what this could be please?

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I saw these pictures posted a while back and found it very interesting. I did some research as to why this happens. All I could find was that this is a unique feature Giraffe have, the ability of laying down bony material around the skull. This is mainly done by bulls and increases the weight of the skull as much as 3 times that of a female. This can with time cause them to be covered with bony lumps. These bony growths often grow on one side of the skull, so I think this guy could have let this get out of hand or these are some other growths. :shock:

While I was doing all this research I found some very interesting information which I thought I would share. :D

The coat pattern on each giraffe is unique, the same as a zebra's stripes are unique to each individual. Like a fingerprint.

I have always been amazed at the way a giraffe drinks water. :shock: It goes down with its head to ground level or water level and suddenly pulls up its head with a spray of water flying out in front of it. 8) I am sure some of you have seen this. I always wondered about the blood flow to the head and back from the head when it did this. :?

The heart has to pump blood to the brain when the giraffe is standing and that is about 2.5m up and when the giraffe drinks water the heart has to pump blood down to the head which is also about 2.5m. What's really amazing is that when it drops its head to drink, the blood pressure stays constant in the head and when it pulls its head up from drinking, the blood pressure still remains constant. This is because it has valves on the jugular veins that stop the blood from rushing back and forth. I call them non-return valves. The valves close when the giraffe drops its head and to compensate for the pressure, the blood vessels are very elastic, so they stretch to compensate for the huge pressure, otherwise the blood vessels would burst. The same happens when it lifts its head. 8)

There is a lot more info HERE.
Jose also supplied some interesting links earlier in a different thread, I found this one interesting.
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Chris
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Unread postby Chris » Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:39 am

I recently saw a fully grown male giraffe with two scars on the neck, about one third up the neck. Both scars more or less round, and the same distance apart as the distance between the horns. I am very curious about the cause of the wounds, and was wondering if a fight between two bulls can cause open wounds. Has anybody seen giraffes injure each other like that? It seems very high for a predator to reach there.

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Unread postby Wild@Heart » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:24 am

Hi Chris, haven't seen anything like that but your story reminded me of the 50/50 insert on Veldfocus on Sunday.

They showed a video where to Giraffes were fighting. The one slammed his head backwards and connected with the other ones head.

It knocked the other one totally out cold. I've never seen anything like that I nearly wet myself laughing (sorry, but it was very funny) when the other one dropped like a cartoon character.
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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:41 pm

Hi Chris, I've also seen this before and have photos of 2 giraffes with scars like that which we've seen on our recent trip. I post the photos a little later. First have to edit and upload.

When I saw thse scars I assumed it was battle scars. The bulls put a lot of force behind those blows and I'm sure it can cause damage.

Let me get to work on those photos.
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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:33 pm

Here is 2 giraffes with the type of scars Chris mentioned. We saw both of them in the Satara region in February 2006

Image Image
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Giraffe Disease

Unread postby pardus » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:04 pm

Hi :)

New to this, but here goes...

During a visit to Kruger in January 2006, I saw a giraffe with strange growths on it's body. It looked like large black, swollen blisters, especially around the face, upper neck and at the back of it's rump. I took photos, and would like to know if I could place them on this forum for viewing, as this was quite unusual and I would like to know what was wrong with animal. BTW, it was browsing and it did not appear to be in poor state.


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