Masai Giraffes, By Michael Lorentz, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape,

Masai Giraffes

Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

Learn more about Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Grumeti Game Reserve,
Serengeti, Tanzania
By Michael Lorentz
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Much like humans, young male giraffes frequently spar with one another in a playful, bonding manner that rarely results in injury. This behavior, referred to by scientists as “necking,” may involve the giraffes hitting one another with their long necks and large heads. In some cases, the scuffle will begin with a challenging push or a kick to provoke engagement and establish early dominance over a future rival for females as they approach breeding age.

“These two males were browsing when suddenly the older one started shoving the other around with his whole body and hooked a front leg over his neck. The younger one promptly lifted his neck as high as he could while prancing around, leaving the older giraffe completely wrong-footed. It was funny to watch as the ‘bully’ came off second best.” —ML

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II; EF 500mm lens; 1/640 sec at ƒ/6.3; ISO 100; hand-held.