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 rubbing and banging the opponent's head and 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. Giraffes live in loose groups of anywhere between two and fifty individuals, inhabiting the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.
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