JOHN READER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN READER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sparring giraffes. Male giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) engaged in a sparring match. This behaviour is part of a ritual performed during the mating season, when males are in competition for receptive females. The contest, which involves swinging the head at an opponent's neck, provides a means of selecting the strongest male without causing physical damage to either individual. The giraffe is the tallest living land animal, some specimens reaching over 6 metres in height. This allows them to reach the succulent leaves at the tops of trees. They live in loose groups of anywhere between two and fifty individuals, inhabiting the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.
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