While on safari we came across this male Giraffe who seems to have come out second in a dispute with a rival male.
Male giraffes will compete for females by means of necking. It is a form of fighting where they will stand opposite each other and give out beatings with the head. This is done by dropping the neck and head and using a swinging pivot technique to lash at the rival. The weight of the neck and head generates a lot momentum and the impact will often throw the receiver off balance and even off his feet.
Giraffes are gentle of nature and one would not imagine them to have a brutal streak, but we have even seen how one male burst a youngster’s lung when he connected the poor sub-adult male on the chest. Other major injuries are the dislocation of neck vertebra and head trauma.
Giraffe and Okapi’s are the only African mammals that are born with “horns” . The horns are known as ossicones and it does not grow out of the skull like the bony core of other bovid horns. Instead the calves are born with it and it is soft and cartilaginous and will fuse with the skull.
Serious disputes are seldom and a winner decided on fairly quick accounts. However in this incident the male in the picture must have broken one of the ossicones (which is rather common when they fight), but instead of quitting to allow the ossicone to grow back he continued and with only one ossicone to take the impact the results were inevitable. What is most striking is how persistent this male was not to quit until both were torn of on the skin of either the neck or chest of his adversary.