G raceful in their awkwardness — or perhaps awkward in their gracefulness — the typically quiet and seemingly gentle mammal known as the giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal in the world, reaching as much as 19 feet or 5.5 meters in height when fully grown as an adult.
I had the pleasure of photographing them during my safari in Kenya.
Giraffes: A Photographic Essay
This giraffe munches on the tasty leaves of a small acacia tree — which is plentiful in southern Kenya — as a favorite part of its herbivorous diet.
The neck of a giraffe can reach a length of almost eight feet, which is especially helpful in reaching the leaves of taller trees — as well as looking out for predators such as human beings, who prize the hide, meat and especially tails of these fascinating creatures.
The long necks are also used by male giraffes — also known as bulls — as weapons in combat and to establish dominance. The victors in what are known as neckingbouts — a primal activity which I did not witness, as it did not occur between two male giraffes during my safari — have greater success in terms of mating with a female giraffe. Giraffe bulls have also been known to butt heads. After their duel, it is common for two male giraffes to caress and court each other.
Notwithstanding the pattern of blotches on its coat, the face of a giraffe faintly reminds me of that of a camel.
I do believe that I have made a new friend.
“Hey — what are you looking at?!?”
The Masai giraffe — indigenous to southern Kenya where the Masai Mara National Reserve is located — is identified by the pattern of reddish-brown jagged irregular patches throughout its coat of short yet rough bristles of fur. The pattern on the fur of each giraffe is unique, as no two giraffes share the same pattern.
Strike a pose.
The giraffe is a rather unique animal, as there is no other animal quite like it in the world.
Two giraffes share a snack together.
Long, lanky legs allow the giraffe to run as fast as 35 miles per hour.
A fully-grown giraffe can weigh up to approximately 2,800 pounds or 1,270 kilograms and live for an average of 25 years in the wild.
Sadly, the progress of civilization translates into fewer places where the giraffe can call home.
A group of giraffes meander slowly — and seemingly aimlessly — into the distance. Groups of giraffes are generally six members or fewer.
I have not heard any sounds uttered from the mouth of any giraffe while I was on safari; but I understand that giraffes do use a variety of sounds to communicate — snorting, bellowing, “coughing”, grunting, hissing, bleating, mooing and moaning as some of the many sounds they emit for different purposes.
As long as no sudden or loud noises frighten them and cause them to run away, giraffes will typically go about their business, giving ample photography opportunities — despite knowing all too well that you are there within its vicinity.
Um…do I dare comment on the photograph shown above?!?