Annoyed Giraffe Timidly ‘Whacks’ Herd Mate at Potawatomi Zoo

Shutterstock/Independent birds

Just like humans, animals have ways of showing each other when they are annoyed by each other. Take these two giraffes at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana for instance. They have a pretty interesting way of letting one another know when they're doing something weird!

The zoo shared the video on Wednesday, May 29th. It shows two male giraffes in their enclosure. One of them is sticking his neck through the bars to get to some tall grass on the other side. The other giraffe thinks what he is doing is weird and whacks him to let him know it!

Potawatomi Zoo explains what's really going on in the video's caption. "Giraffes sometimes spar by swinging their neck and head at their "opponent." It's a way male giraffes can test or establish dominance without fighting." Pretty interesting!

Commenters thought the whole scene was cute more than anything. @hungry_homebody pointed out, "The little half-hearted bonks!!" @Linds made me laugh with, "Giraffes are just so sassy for no reason. Like you upset me? Smack you with my head. You disrespectfully slighted me? Head smack to the butt. Giraffes have the most aggressive ‘sibling’ rivalries." and I agree with @Maid who said, "It looks like the giraffe equivalent of smacking someone on the shoulder LOL!"

Related: Older Giraffe’s Kind Gesture Toward Baby Giraffe Is Melting Hearts

Interesting Giraffe Facts

Giraffes actually fight using this same technique to establish dominance during mating season. Raw Tribe explains more about this neck-to-neck combat, "Giraffe fights involve a unique behavior called “necking.” This term refers to the act of two male giraffes engaging in a ritualized combat where they use their long necks as formidable weapons. Standing parallel to each other, the giraffes swing their heads and necks forcefully in an attempt to strike their opponent. They deliver powerful blows by using their necks as a pendulum, aiming to land blows on the body or head of their rival."

While it may look like they're trying to hurt each other, it's actually not usually intended to cause harm; instead, it's to establish dominance and hierarchy within the group.

Did you know that giraffes don't need much sleep? They only sleep about 4-1/2 hours a day in 30-minute cycles. Baby giraffes sleep a bit more and depend on their mothers for protection, explaining why their mothers don't sleep much and stay on the lookout for predators such as lions, hyenas, and leopards. Babies depend on mom for the first two years of their lives, at which point male giraffes will head out on their own and also begin using those fighting techniques for real instead of just for practice.

Giraffes are such cool, docile animals! I love learning these interesting facts about them and appreciate when zoos share these facts to help educate the public and make us want to work to protect these endangered animals.

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