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Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks
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Re: Giraffe

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

Just from a different angle :thumbs_up:

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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!

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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

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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.!!!
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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!!
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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.
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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:



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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!

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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.


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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.

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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? :|

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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
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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.

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Re: Giraffe - strange behaviour

Unread post by Imberbe » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:32 pm

Many different animals will use sources for calcium and other minerals. i.e.: Tortoises - eat hyena dung. Porcupines, gnaw on bones. Pica is actually a disorder, while osteophage is the term used for the normal behavioural trait.

Many animals will eat dirt, for the minerals they can secure in this way. But not just any dirt. They will go there where a specific source of the desired mineral is available. Animals known to do this include giraffe, elephant and a variety of antelope. This is called geophage.

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Re: Giraffe Eating Bones

Unread post by Mama fariu » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:37 pm

Dear Tim I have also seen this strange behaviour.

In Andy and Tinker's Map and Guide book of Pilanesberg. Giraffe are predominantly browsers, feeding off leaves, but they do graze and they are also known to suck and chew bones from which they get their Calcium and other minerals. Other animals like porcupines are known to do this too. This unusual behaviour is called Osteophagia.

Warthogs are often seen eating fresh elephant dung. Elephants do not digest their food very well and in this way warthogs receive a nutrient rich meal. This practice is called coprophagia.

Here is one of my pics of a Giraffe practising this unusual behaviour.
Hope you find the above interesting. Regards Mama Faru.

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