The tallest land animals in the world often get painted as gentle giants.
But the truth is, like most other animals, giraffes can get a little rough and rowdy too. Nature is a brutal thing, and the life of giraffes is no exception.
Giraffes can grow up to 14 to 18-feet tall and weigh more than 2,500-pounds. Most people assume because of their enormous size that giraffes are safe from predators. However, that’s not the case. Lions, leopards, hyenas, and African wild dogs are all known to hunt and eat giraffes.
While they are typically gregarious creatures, male giraffes in particular are known to be quite hostile towards one another.
Male giraffes establish a social hierarchy for breeding dominance through an incredibly violent ordeal known as “necking,” whereby they essentially use their long muscular necks and hard bony skulls as weapons.
Both male and female giraffes have structures on their heads that resemble horns. Those structures are called ossicones, and they’re made of ossified cartilage that’s fused to the skull. As male giraffes age, their ossicones form calcium deposits and their skulls become denser and more club-like.
Two giraffes will stand side by side to size each other up and lean and push on each other with their necks to determine strength. Often the Giraffe that can simply hold their neck the stiffest will walk away as the winner.
If the giraffes are of equal strength, then the necking battles get a little more intense, and they will spread their front legs and rear back to coil their necks up before swinging their heads forward like a whip. The giraffes will slam their skulls into one another harder than a fullback and linebacker meeting at the line of scrimmage until one of them taps out or tips over.
Necking duels can last more than a half-hour, and while most of the time dominance is established without severe injury to either Giraffe, sometimes necking does cause broken jaws or broken necks. In some extreme instances, giraffes will actually neck each other to death.
No telling if the giraffe that loses this battle ever gets back up, and while the losing giraffe hopefully did not die, the winning giraffes definitely delivered a knockout blow.
“In the who’s who of the boxing world we would like to proudly present our very own Mayweather versus McGregor of the animal kingdom.
These two bulls were literally at it “neck and neck” but in the end, as we all know, there can only be one winner…”