Skip to Content


Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2761
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:44 pm
Location: Welkom Free State RSA

Re: The giraffe that 'committed suicide'

Unread post by Rooies » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:28 pm

My 10 cents worth. I may appear that the giraffe deliberately banged its head on the ground, but he was probably so tired after the fight, that he could not keep his head up and it slammed back to the ground in what seem to be a deliberate attempt to commit suicide.
Give thanks for unknown blessings already on its way---African saying
Member nr 8512
Cheetah supporterPURIST and proud thereof

Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango

Re: The giraffe that 'committed suicide'

Unread post by o-dog » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:28 pm

flying cheetah wrote:Very interesting story, I never heard anything like that before :hmz: :shock:
Also surprising for me that a fighting giraffe breaks a leg of his opponent, I thought they only fight 'neck against neck' and 'head against head' :big_eyes:

You haven't seen a giraffe fighting then :wink:

Neck sparring in giraffe is a very common occurrence and is usually where the 'fighting' ends. In the few years that I worked in the bush I thought this was the extent of giraffe fighting until one day I came across a proper fight where the blows being exchanged where astonishing in power and loudness and the adrenalin of the incident for me was comparable to seeing lions killing a buffalo. It was raw power and I can easily see how they can break legs. It still rates as one of my better sightings.

Imberbe wrote: I very much doubt the explanation given regarding the death of the giraffe. It is someones interpretation, not necessarily related to facts. A desperate giraffe trying to get up could possibly injure himself in such a way.

I tend to disagree. Although mildly possible for a giraffe to hurt itself while getting up the only incidents that I have seen giraffe in a struggling situation have resulted in mild attempts to get up and no such incident where the head was powerfully coming down as described in the incident.
The documented case of a giraffe carrying out the same type of behaviour in the Paris zoo also suggests suicide.

(this is directed at no-one in particular)
Too many people have this belief that animals are not capable of certain behaviour. I think its sad really that people can be so narrow minded. Do we really assume that we know everything about animals?? Its a bit of a joke that we can have the arrogance to state that its impossible that a giraffe can commit suicide when we really know nothing about these mammals in many ways.

I wish this incident were documented on video as it sounds fascinating whether it was suicide or not and plausible in the fact that if an animal were aware of its hopeless situation that suicide could arise. You can also NOT base a single animals behaviour on the norm as 'exceptions' are possible and its exceptions that are big drivers in evolution whether waning out the weaker or promoting the stronger. :thumbs_up:
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1260
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:11 pm
Location: Back on earth.....

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:01 am

Just from a different angle :thumbs_up:

Near Sweni hide

Taken in non SANParks....
Kruger Selfdrive under review: click HERE to join the discussion and influence the future of Kruger's selfdrive options Contribute to a viable solution and participate in the discussion!

User avatar
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:42 am

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by ice » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:19 pm

I recently learned that giraffe babies are born with horns on their haed (although they are not yet connected to their skulls, as to not injure their mother's uterus). I did a quick reserach on the net and now I am not sure if giraffes are the only animals which give birth to babies with horns or if they are one of the few animals that do so? clarification would be appreciated!

Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:56 pm

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by Alko » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:54 pm

Hi Ice,

The other species seems to be the oryx:

Giraffes and Oryx born with horns. Giraffe horns lay on the skull, become erect after about a week. Oryx horns visible at birth as hair-covered bumps.
source: ... ns/2490362

Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:03 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by 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: 5461
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by 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, angler, 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
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 11322
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Location: another national park.. in England

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread post by 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: 2480
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:49 pm
Location: Burghausen, Germany

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread post by 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
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Location: cornwall uk

Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread post by 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: 16235
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Tinley Manor, KZN North Coast, South Africa

Re: Giraffe

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

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



User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Location: Back Home

Re: Giraffe

Unread post by 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.

Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:31 pm
Location: Margate KZN

Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread post by 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: 1357
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm
Location: Centurion

Re: Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread post by 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
:dance: First South to North KNP trip booked! :dance:
10-11 June 2017 - Lower Sabie
12-14 June 2017 - Talamati
15-17 June 2017 - Olifants
18-20 June 2017 - Mopani
21-22 June 2017 - Punda Maria
22-23 June 2017 - Pafuri Border Camp

User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:33 pm

Re: Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread post by 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 2 guests

Webcam Highlights

Submitted by EElse at 09:47:01
Submitted by Gerda at 22:23:10
Submitted by CindyC at 20:33:11
Submitted by Jennie at 22:31:44