Friday, April 27

Battling Giraffe

A sight not often witnessed is that of two male giraffe having a serious and physical “debate” as to who is the more dominant.

In the 5 years that I have been guiding in Kruger I have only seen this happen a handful of times and usually it is either fairly distant, or partially obscured by vegetation.

And in most of these previous events the two males concerned did not appear to be fully committed to battle.......

A week ago Joseph, Tinecke (my guests) and I spent half an hour watching two males have a very serious go at each other. We were about 50 metres from the battleground and could clearly hear the thud of horns meeting flesh and see the judder go through the smitten giraffe.

In the relatively short time that we spent with these two animals there did not appear to be a clear winner and when we left they were still jostling each other for the best position to swing again......

These photos show just a little of the action.........

 (please click on the the first photo to see them enlarged)




























PS - this pose, much beloved by photographers and artists alike - is not a "friendly" one. It is the two males lining up for battle!



11 comments:

Danice said...

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love your blog, it is so educational.

Coral Wild said...

Thank you so much Danice - I'm glad you enjoy my blog. Keep in touch.
Sue

Joyful said...

I always think of giraffes as quite docile. It was great seeing your photos of a giraffes in their aggressive state as I've never seen it in the wild. As you say, it is rare to see.

Jean Hunter said...

Amazing photographs ... is the aim to kill? By wounding/or knocking down and leaving vulnerable?

Coral Wild said...

Hello Penny, yes, appearances can be deceiving. I have also seen giraffe chase off a jackal that came too near. Recently a woman was killed by a giraffe in a private game reserve. She was walking with her dog, got too near a giraffe with youngster, the giraffe went for the dog, the woman tried to protect her dog and got kicked in the head as a result. A very unfortunate accident which was not the fault of the giraffe!

Coral Wild said...

Thanks for the comment Jean.
My opinion is that most wild animals do not intend "to kill". They either hunt for food, or fight other males for dominance or territory etc, etc...
Death is only a by-product - a 100% certainty when you are food for a predator:) - but when males fight the loser usually backs off when it's obvious that they are not going to win. Self preservation / survival is the ultimate goal!
That being said - there have been recorded cases of giraffe being knocked off their feet and choking on the contents of their rumen or becoming prey for predators.
As with any discussion on animal behaviour (including human) there are always exceptions to the "norm"!

Andrea said...

Great Situation!
I never saw it...

Lonicera said...

So, if they fall over, can they get upright again?

It looks like a very painful way to fight... You're right about the back to back pose - I was thinking wow what a lovely shot, until I read what you put about it being all about squaring up to each other!
Caroline

Coral Wild said...

Hi Caroline, giraffe can lie down - but like any ruminant - on their rump with the head held up above the level of their stomachs. They can get up from that position without too much difficulty. I haven't seen any flat on their sides but that might be too difficult.... Certainly large predators like lion manage to bring giraffe down by unbalancing / tripping them so that they fall down...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Coral .. I never saw that when I was out in SA. Interesting that they're fighting sideways - well that's what it appears like from the photos - especially as they start that way when they line up. Then they attack the underbelly ..

Really fascinating to see your pics - thanks - great shots .. cheers Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Hello Hilary - apologies for not responding to your comment earlier:(
Yes, the giraffe line up sideways - it seems to be the best way that they can swing those long necks of theirs.
They seem to mostly make contact on the rumps of their opponents and sometimes the underbelly.
regards
Sue