Perhaps it’s his strangeness; the long neck, black tongue, eyelashes to die for, gormless expression. His walk is either graceful or ungainly depending on your view; both left feet together and then both right feet. His lolloping gallop, front feet together then back, is made for speed, not elegance.
As for drinking, what a rigmarole! However, due to an enlarged heart, giraffes can regulate blood pressure so that they can lower their heads without blood rushing down.
But maybe it’s the fact that giraffes are so inquisitive, the ‘Nosy Parkers’ of the bush, looking down on everything going on around them, that makes them so appealing.
Marula Lodge’s South Luangwa has its own endemic species, Thornicroft’s giraffe, which was named after Harry Scott Thornicroft, a commissioner for the British South Africa Company at the turn of the 19th Century in what was then Northern Rhodesia. It’s one of the smallest giraffes in Africa, but still pretty tall compared to the average safari goer!
It differs from other sub species in that their decorative, leaf shaped body spots do not extend below the knee.
Older giraffes are instantly recognisable as their spots darken with age and their heads become misshapen with lumps and bumps. This could also be due to fighting between the males, which results in their horns being bald.
Young giraffes are extremely vulnerable and up to half will die in their first year, as they are easy targets for lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs. It’s estimated that there are only 1,500 Thornicroft’s giraffe in the park, so seeing their heads poking up among the trees is truly a treat.
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