Coming across two male giraffe in a clearing, on a game drive with my guests from River Lodge,started off to be quite relaxed or seen as a normal sighting of two “long necks”. As we approached, we discovered that there was more to this meeting than we thought. These two were sizing each other up!
Giraffe males will stare at each other to either intimidate the other into submission or determining where to place the first blow. Male giraffe will make use of their necks and heads as powerful hammer action tools to either unbalance or knock down the other individual in order to establish dominance. The neck is supported by powerful muscles and reinforced ligaments.
This action is commonly referred to as necking, but in fact is known as ‘sparring’. ‘Necking’ refers to the behaviour between males and females during courtship or bonding. Younger males have also been observed displaying this behaviour, but more for practice to use when they are older.