THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE GIRAFFE, GIRAFFA CAMELOPARDALIS, IN THE EASTERN TRANSVAAL

Authors


SUMMARY

The giraffe in South Africa live entirely in the Eastern Transvaal, a lowveld region primarily of grass or veld with scattered bushes and low trees. The giraffe browse on a wide variety of trees in the spring and fall when few leaves are available, but in summer when all the trees are in foliage they are much more selective. The giraffe spend most of the day and part of the night feeding, especially the early morning and late afternoon. In the summer when food is abundant, the giraffe have more time during the day to chew their cud and lie down.

The males spend part of the day fighting with each other. Such matches are seldom serious and often end in sexual play with one male mounting the other. The most common heterosexual activity was the testing of the females' urine by the male. There is no breeding season among giraffe, and the young are born all through the year.

Giraffe are usually found in groups or herds, but they do not appear to communicate with each other, although they are capable of making sounds. The herds are loose associations of animals, generally with no definite leadership, and often include both adult males and females. Herds travelled very slowly, and often remained on the farm where they were studied for at least one year.

The giraffe on Fleur de Lys farm have become used to farm conditions; they jump fences instead of breaking through them, and drink water from the cattle troughs, often walking among the cattle to do so.

Ancillary