Reticulated or Somali Giraffe ~ Giraffa camelopardalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
This baby giraffe is only one month old. Her older sister, of one year old loves on him and picks on him constantly. Since big sister was eating leaves, baby brother was following the leader. I don’t think he was eating many leaves, mostly practicing for later.
Giraffes are vegetarians and will feed on spiny or thorny plants which they handle easily with a prehensile upper lip and very long, prehensile tongue. They eat leaves from high in the tops of various deciduous and evergreen trees and also some shrubs. A favorite, acacia leaves, are full of water, enabling giraffes to go a long time without drinking.
Baby giraffes nurse for about a year but begin eating leaves at about four months. They stay close to their mothers for the first few weeks, but after that, many mother giraffes leave their calves in sort of a babysitting co-op: one mother babysits while the others go out to eat. This “giraffe nursery” is called a creche.
Sometimes the baby is even left alone for a while. When that happens, the little guy just sits quietly and waits for mom to come back. I watched as this baby giraffe’s mother walked away, and the baby just stood their quietly like a statue until mother came back.
The ancient Romans called this animal “Camelopardalis” which meant “A camel marked like a leopard”.
Species: G. camelopardalis
Binomial name: Giraffa camelopardalis (Linnaeus, 1758)