Kariega guest Sonja Wylde captured this video of a newly born giraffe while driving to the Kariega gate on her way home. The calf is still trying to stand up which means that it must be only a few hours old. The mother can be seen cleaning the calf.
The giraffe was born after a gestation period of approximately 15 months or 453 days. At birth, the calf fell about two metres to the ground. This is nature's way of helping to kick start its breathing!
Newborn Giraffe Calf Learns to Walk in a Few Hours
It is amazing that with such long legs the calf can learn how to stand and walk so well in just a few hours. They definitely learn faster than human babies and can walk (although shakily) within the first hour of life. The calf needs to be up and ready to move if predators, like lions, come close.
Female Giraffe Udders are Under their Back Legs
There are nine subspecies of giraffe in the world, the one we find in Kariega Game Reserve is the South African giraffe. It’s normal for a giraffe cow to have only one calf but twins have been recorded. The calf's next response after standing up is to look for its mother's udder. The cows udder is under her back legs and the calf will drink her milk for the next 9-12 months. At around four months the calf also starts eating solids like leaves. The calf will then start to learn how to ruminate, the process of re-chewing solids into smaller fragments so more nutrients can be absorbed.
This little calf may live up to 25 years. We look forward to watching it grow up with the other beautiful giraffe at Kariega Game Reserve.
Thanks to Sonja for sending us her video.
Did you have any sightings of newborn animals while on safari at Kariega? You can share them with us by posting them to our Facebook page.