The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Interesting facts about Giraffes

Afrikaans name: Kameelperd

Lees in Afrikaans

A Giraffe crosses a field in a game reserve

Giraffe

Photo © Steven Herbert

Giraffa camelopardais

Standing up to 6 metres tall the Giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. Males can weigh up to 1600 kg while females weigh a bit more than half of that. Females and juveniles have tufts of hair on their short 'horns'. Males have little or no hair on their 'horns'.

Although the Giraffe is found across a large portion of Africa their distribution is not continuous which has caused a number of sub-species to emerge.

The nearest living relative of the Giraffe is the Okapi.

Giraffes are normally found in more open woodland or savanna habitats. Their height advantage allows them to browse from the tops of trees.

They can go for up to 3 days without drinking water. At night they tend to lie down.

Although Giraffes are often seen in loose herds the make-up of those herds tends to change all the time and the animals do not form strong bonds with eachother.

In most cases a female Giraffe gives birth to a single calf.

Giraffes are well-known for fighting each other by swinging their powerful necks. This activity appears to be a way of establishing dominance between males. The duels may be quite relaxed or really intense.

Adults can live up to 25 years. They are sometimes hunted by Lions but their sheer size, and powerful kicks, help protect them.

A Giraffe towers above the surrounding trees

Photo © Steven Herbert

Interessante feite oor Kameelperde

Met 'n hoogte van tot 6 meter is die Kameelperd die hoogste landdier ter wêreld. Mannetjies kan tot 1600 kg weeg terwyl wyfies bietjie meer as die helfte daarvan weeg. Wyfies en jeugdiges het klossies hare op hul kort 'horings'. Mannetjies het min of geen hare op hul 'horings' nie.

Alhoewel die Kameelperd oor 'n groot gedeelte van Afrika voorkom, is hul verspreiding nie aaneenlopend nie, wat veroorsaak het dat 'n aantal subspesies hul verskyning gemaak het.

Die naaste lewende familielid van die Kameelperd is die Okapi.

Kameelperde word gewoonlik in meer oop bosveld- of savannehabitatte aangetref. Hul hoogtevoordeel laat hulle toe om van die toppe van bome af te blaai.

Hulle kan vir tot 3 dae gaan sonder om water te drink. Snags is hulle geneig om te gaan lê.

Alhoewel Kameelperde dikwels in los troppe gesien word, is die samestelling van daardie troppe geneig om heeltyd te verander en die diere vorm nie sterk bande met mekaar nie.

In die meeste gevalle gee 'n Kameelperdwyfie geboorte aan 'n enkele kalf.

Kameelperde is bekend daarvoor dat hulle teen mekaar veg deur hul kragtige nekke te swaai. Hierdie aktiwiteit blyk 'n manier te wees om dominansie tussen mans te vestig. Die tweestryde kan redelik ontspanne of baie intens wees.

Volwassenes kan tot 25 jaar leef. Hulle word soms deur Leeus gejag, maar hul blote grootte en kragtige skoppe help om hulle te beskerm.

A Giraffe lying down in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - OK, Giraffe are big animals and it must be a bit awkward for them to do things that seem easy for smaller animals. They are able to lie down by tucking their legs under their bodies but they keep their heads up.

Kameelperde is groot diere en dit moet vir hulle 'n bietjie ongemaklik wees om dinge te doen wat vir kleiner diere maklik lyk. Hulle kan gaan lê deur hul bene onder hul lywe in te steek, maar hulle hou hul koppe op.

Below - Drinking is also a bit of a mission. They spread their front legs to lower their bodies while drinking. As can be seen in the picture below the rear view is not very glamorous!

Om iets te drink is ook 'n bietjie van 'n missie. Hulle sprei hul voorpote om hul lywe te laat sak terwyl hulle drink. Soos op die foto hieronder gesien kan word, is die agteraansig nie baie glansryk nie!

A Giraffe drinking in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 222

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 98

Wild Issue 29 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 69

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 141

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 96

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 48

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 10

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 161

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 142

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 42

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 414

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 25

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 7

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 18

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 86

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 83

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 151

Kruger National Park, Visitors Map 1996 - Author: - Published: 1996 - Page: 1

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 151

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 64

First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2003 - Page: 43

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Published: 1987 - Page: 113

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 180

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 96

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 161

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 180

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 12

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 188

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 42

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 71


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