What is giraffe necking?

What is giraffe necking?

Necking occurs when two giraffes hit each other with their necks. Necking occurs to determine dominance.

It only occurs in bachelor herds of giraffes when two males are competing to be the dominant one. 

Necking can be gentle or it can be very fierce. Young giraffes usually undertake low-grade, gentle necking by leaning and rubbing each other with their necks. 

Older giraffes often hit each other hard with their necks. This is called high-grade necking, and it might occur when two males are fighting for a female. They swing their necks like a golf club until they hit the other giraffe. They are demonstrating their strength. Necking is not used to kill each other.

The photographs were taken on 16 July 2017 and show necking between two younger male Masai Giraffes.

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the Giraffidae family of giraffes.

It has a long neck that measures about 200 centimetres (6.5 feet or 78 inches) long. It has distinctive, irregular, jagged, brown star-like or leaf-like shapes on its cream-coloured fur. 

It is found in central and southern Kenya and in Tanzania. 

Location of photographs: Masai Mara, Kenya

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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