Giraffes keep themselves to themselves and don't form any lasting relationships. They often stand at least twenty meters apart. They only come closer together when they are eating or if there is a predator nearby. A herd of giraffes consists of thirty to fifty animals and doesn't really have a leader. There is a hierarchical order but it is barely noticeable. A giraffe that is higher up in the order, holds its head and chin higher and is allowed to block the path of any giraffe with a lower rank.
Birth from Two Metres High
When a giraffe calf is born, the mother stays standing up. The calf then falls to the ground from a height of about two meters. After only fifteen minutes, the newborn giraffe can already stand to drink from its mother. It is then already as high as an adult human and grows almost 2.5 centimetres a week. There is a strong bond between a giraffe calf and its mother. In the first few days after the birth, the young giraffe stays within ten metres of its mother.
Giraffes eat the leaves and twigs off trees. Mainly from the acacia tree, because that is the most common on African plains. The tree has long thorns of up to five centimetres long. But the giraffes aren't bothered by them. Their mouths and lips are always covered with a layer of hard skin. Which stops them from feeling the prickles.
High up in the Tree
With their long neck, their flexible top lip and their almost 45 cm long tongue giraffes can be selective about what they pick. So they only pick the leaves off the tree. And they can also reach the highest leaves, the ones that the other animals can't get. The females tend to go for lower leaves, at about shoulder height. This is one of the ways that you can tell the difference between the males and females in the field.