Skip to Content


Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

Moderator: RosemaryH

Posts: 341
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:03 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby Wildlover » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:59 pm

Interesting fact about the giraffe is its head cannot go below its hart because it wil die of to much blood on the brain and thats whay thay go down like thay do when thay drink.

Thay have a netting of veins behind there brain that keeps the blood away from the brain for 60 seconds so htat thay can drink.

Thats whay you will never find a giraffe drinking longer than 60 seconds.!!!
GRM all the way! We do it for the greater cause!

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5598
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby bishop3006 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:02 pm

Wildlover, no, not quite. The simple reason for them going down like that to drink is that their neck is shorter than their front legs and body combined so, unless they bend funny like that, they'll never be able to drink.

When they drink their heads do go below their heart. But you're correct, if they didn't have a system in place they would die, and then on the flipside pass out should they suddenly get up as there wouldn't be any blood.

Here's a shot off the webcams that Imberbe posted some time ago on a quiz, showing how low the head goes.


And off there the answer also comes in terms of why don't die of stroke, nor pass out:

A giraffe's heart, which can weigh up to 10 kg (22 lb) and measure about 60 cm (2 ft) long, has to generate around double the normal blood pressure for an average large mammal in order to maintain blood flow to the brain against gravity. In the upper neck, a complex pressure-regulation system called the rete mirabile prevents excess blood flow to the brain when the giraffe lowers its head to drink. Conversely, the blood vessels in the lower legs are under great pressure (because of the weight of fluid pressing down on them). In other animals such pressure would force the blood out through the capillary walls; giraffes, however, have a very tight sheath of thick skin over their lower limbs which maintains high extravascular pressure in exactly the same way as a pilot's g-suit

That is the secret! It is also called a "blood sponge".

It is a unique (if I remember correctly the Okapi has a similar but only very rudimentary one) and very intricate system the giraffe developed. Basically it is an organ sitting just below the brain, with many blood vessel, which is packed closely together. As the blood pressure increases when the giraffe bends down, the increased pressure forces the vessels closer together. This hinders the flow of the blood by constricting the vessels. This blocks the higher pressure and limits the amount of blood coming through, protecting the brain, while at the same time ensuring that enough blood do reach the brain for it to continue functioning normally.

Wonderful animals indeed!!
Hunter, nature lover, conservationist.

I believe that for man to survive, we must work with nature rather than against her. We need the land; the land doesn't need us. Too many people have lost sight of this fact. - Bruce Truter

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 866
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:03 pm
Location: Planning to be in kruger again.........

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby mattib » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:02 am

Taken at croc bridge-



:yaya: Take a look at my Lion TR

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:51 am
Location: Vanderbijlpark

Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby Herman » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:56 pm

On our quick trip to Berg en Dal last weekend, we saw this giraffe on the river road towards Croc Bridge ...
We first thought that it was drinking water from a puddle hidden in the grass...


but then it stood up and had something in its mouth ...


We couldn't identify the object, as the giraffe let it drop down too quickly.
It looked like small bird or bullfrog !!!
However the giraffe picked it up a number of times and only when it picked up a bigger bone, we realised that it was a vertebra of probably a giraffe ?!
Now I guess it was just licking / trying to chew the bones - being after the salty taste just like cattle and most antelopes do ? Or could we have witnessed some bisarre show of respect to dead companions ?- unlikely I guess ?

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5008
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:12 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby CuriousCanadian » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:02 pm

:clap: Very interesting and great pics as well...:clap:

They are after the minerals in the bones maybe?
Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 19663
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Location: another national park.. in England

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby Dotty » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:24 pm

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Giraffes are herbivores - everyone knows that - so when you are out in the bush and you come across a giraffe standing chewing what looks like a bone … you are certainly within your right to think your eyes are completely deceiving you.
But don’t panic … because the giraffe is indeed chewing on a bone.
They will pick up discarded bones from the remains of skeletons that the hyenas don’t want anymore, and will chew on the bone to get the calcium to supplement their diet.
KUDU's mean Well done and Thank you

User avatar
flying cheetah
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:49 pm
Location: Burghausen, Germany

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby flying cheetah » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:35 pm

I could watch the same a few years back and also was told by a friend that they lick the bones for minerals. Here are some pics:



Akukho nyon' endiz' ingahlali phansi. (Zulu)
There is not a bird that flies and never sits down.

User avatar
Crested Val
Forum Assistant
Forum Assistant
Posts: 8843
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:49 am
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby Crested Val » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:37 pm

Very interesting - Thanks peeps!! :thumbs_up:
Thinking of my beloved South Africa every day.

Virtual Potjie Competition for VHR Far School's Project

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 566
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Location: cornwall uk

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread postby granjan » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:13 pm

Was also told by a guide on one of the drives that giraffe eat hyena dung for the calcium!

User avatar
Posts: 14464
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby Elsa » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:42 am

This leucistic Giraffe was seen in Kruger just below Lower Sabie in May this year.


Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Location: Back Home

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby adw » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:26 am

Interesting sighting Elsa.
Looking through my earlier photos I came across this Giraffe which shows just how supple a Giraffes neck is. This photo was taken way back in Nov 2005 and I have not witnessed anything like this since.

Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.

User avatar
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:27 pm
Location: JHB

Re: Giraffe

Unread postby fee » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:40 pm

:lol: :lol: Amazing picture.

Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:31 pm
Location: Margate KZN

Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread postby Timandmel » Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:19 pm

We have photo's of a giraffe eating bones has anyone else ever heard of this activity? :|

Regards Tim

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1549
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm
Location: Centurion

Re: Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread postby Bushbuddies » Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:24 pm

Never seen it - but heard about it plenty of times from guides before. They apparently do it to get their needed dose of minerals - kind of like a salt lick I guess... :P
12 Dec 2015 - Twee Rivieren
13 Dec 2015 - Nossob
14-15 Dec 2015 - Grootkolk
16 Dec 2015 - Nossob
17-18 Dec 2015 - Mata Mata
19 Dec 2015 - Twee Rivieren

User avatar
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:33 pm

Re: Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread postby robynanne » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:21 pm

Watched at giraffe having a marvelous chew in May in Mafikeng Game Reserve.
He moved his head into all kind of weird angles to move round the bone as he chewed.
I watched him for a good 10 minutes and he was at it when I arrived.

Return to “Mammals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest