Giraffes Swinging Necks for the Heavyweight Title

Get ready for an epic battle between two towering giraffes! Witness their intense necking behavior and find out who emerges victorious…

Two towering giants contest in a display of strength, showcasing the raw beauty and intensity of nature. Which giraffe will emerge victorious?
Three giraffes are spotted strolling through the riverbank by game ranger Jaco Joubert at MalaMala Game Reserve.
What was expected to be a peaceful and serene sighting quickly turned into much more. You never know what to expect in the bush…
“It is not often that you see a serious challenge like this. It can keep on going for a long time and eventually one of them will have to submit.” Giraffes can sustain these necking bouts for a long time, showing not just their strength but also their remarkable endurance. They can continue their gentle pushing and swinging for up to half an hour or more.
With an iron will, both refusing to surrender, the giraffes went head to head… or, in this case, neck to neck. The biomechanics of a giraffe’s neck allow it to absorb and manage the energy from these interactions efficiently, minimizing the risk of injury while allowing them to playfully compete.
Male giraffes engage in a behavior known as necking, where they use their heads and necks to establish dominance and determine strength. The combination of their muscle strength and the leverage from their long necks allows them to generate significant power.
The giraffes may also try to trip their opponent by targeting their legs.
This is their way of resolving conflicts without resorting to more serious or harmful methods. However, it is no gentle engagement. Their neck alone can reach 6 feet in length, taller than the average man, and can weigh up to 600 pounds. Additionally, a giraffe’s legs are also about 6 feet long, enabling them to run swiftly.
As the tension builds, they swing their necks at each other in a dramatic display. Their agility and evasive maneuvers are incredible to watch. The giraffe’s neck has strong, strategically placed muscles that enable smooth and controlled movements.
They stretch their long necks and adopt commanding postures, each trying to appear more intimidating and dominant.
The giraffes stand side by side, sizing each other up with intense gazes before returning to the contest once more.
Using their heads as powerful tools, they aim to strike their opponent’s neck or body. Flexible ligaments and tendons enhance overall neck flexibility, allowing them to engage in these behaviors and easily stretch up towards high tress and bend down to drink water.
This is an important part of the giraffes’ social hierarchy. Giraffes are social animals and there can be up to 50 members in a herd.
The giraffe’s neck is adaptable to various tasks, from feeding to social interactions. Its flexibility allows the giraffe to engage in necking behaviors, gently swinging and twisting its neck in a graceful yet powerful manner.
The giraffe’s flexible neck helps maintain balance and control, especially when running or navigating uneven terrain. The neck’s movement helps counterbalance the body, contributing to the giraffe’s overall agility.
Their powerful swings disrupt the oxpeckers’ feeding frenzy, sending a flurry of wings, swoops, and outraged calls into the air, creating a legendary scene.
The red-billed oxpecker is seen on larger mammals. They have a mutualistic relationship with the host, as they eat the ticks and other parasites off their skin.
Undeterred, some brave oxpeckers cling to the backs of the dueling giraffes, prioritizing their diet of ticks and skin. This battle benefits them, as they literally feed on the giraffes’ blood, sweat, and tears!
The two giraffes continue to show off their stamina while the viewers are lucky enough to get an up-close sighting.
They both duck and dive, trying to gain the upper hand. The seven elongated vertebrae in their necks provide a greater range of motion.
This procedure of necking also allows the winner to gain rights to the female giraffe he is wanting.
The intensity of the neck swings can vary greatly, ranging from gentle taps to powerful, forceful blows that can knock an opponent off balance.
Their ossicones are the horn-like structures on their heads. These also play a role in these contests. The way in which to determine a male from a female giraffe is by looking at their horns. Males’ horns are thicker and bald on the top, whereas females are thinner and tufted on the top.
The powerful swings during necking can disturb nearby birds and other animals, creating a flurry of activity and noise in the surrounding area.
Giraffes employ different tactics during necking. They may alternate between swinging from the side and using their necks to push against each other.
The loser, defeated and tired, trots off along with his wounded pride.
A walking giraffe might appear slow, but it can cover 4.5 meters (15 feet) with each step. This means even at a leisurely pace, it can walk at a speed of 16 km (10 miles) per hour. When running, a giraffe can reach speeds of over 60 km (37 miles) per hour.
The dominant giraffe may continue to posture for a while to reinforce its victory, while the other giraffe retreats. This resolution helps maintain social hierarchy within the group.