A morning with Giraffes

13th April 2013
It's been a while since I updated my blog, but it doesn't mean it's been quiet in the National Park. We spent a lovely morning watching a small herd of giraffes in an open dambo recently. The youngsters were quietly sitting on the ground, legs folded underneath, but the older males remained standing - perhaps their old joints make it harder to get up and down!



As males get older, specialised skin cells deposit more bone on the 'horns' and down the front of the head, adding weight to their skull. If a male needs to fight for mating rights, he'll use his head as a club, so any extra weight is beneficial.





After a while, a younger bull appeared in the distance and began to approach the group. We were interested to see what might happen between the newcomer and the resident males, but before we could find out, we realised that a yearling leopard cub that we had been watching earlier was still in the area, and had begun to stalk the giraffe!



I had only a fixed length lens so couldn't squeeze in all the action at some points, but the following pictures tell the story!







The leopard wasn't really hunting the giraffe, as prey such as a giraffe is clearly much too large, but she was certainly practicing stalking her larger friend, and at one point, we thought she would jump on the giraffe's back! The whole performance (stalk, chase, retreat) was repeated several times before the young cat became bored and wandered off, leaving us to consider the astonishing markings on the flank of one of the old males.




Comments

Photo comment By Flavia: WOW! Very nice photos and very interesting story! I like so much giraffes and I really enjoyed reading this post. It's so funny to see a leopard close to a giraffe: the leopard seems as a kitten and not an awesome big cat!

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