Giraffe Reproduction

Giraffe Reproduction

Giraffe Breeding and Reproduction

Males are ready to mate when they are about 7 years of age. However, due to the way in which the stronger and more mature bulls get to mate first they don’t often get to at such an early age. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for them to be in there double digits of years before they are able to. You see, males that do get the right to mate will do so with an entire herd so there aren’t as many females to go around as it might seem.

Females are ready to mate when they are about 4 years of age. What is really disgusting for most people is that the males will taste the urine of the females. This process will help him to discover which ones are ready to mate. They will be the ones with more estrus in their urine which is a type of hormone. The courting rituals of giraffes involve the chin resting of the male on the back of the female.

While giraffes have no set mating season it will usually take place during the rainy season. This is because they are less stressed out and because they have plenty of food to consume. When food supplies are very low then they have to kick into survival mode and they are less likely to take part in reproduction.

Information about Giraffe reproduction

Young giraffe in the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa

In captivity though they are more likely to reproduce all throughout the year. This is due to the fact that they always have plenty of food and water available to them. This is one way to try to increase the number of giraffes out there but generally they aren’t in captivity for that purpose.

It takes approximately 15 months after conception for a giraffe calf to be born. Most of the time there is only one at a time but some reports of twins have been noted. The mother remains standing up when the baby drops from her body to the ground which is some feet below. The thick sac protecting the calf prevents it from being harmed during the birthing process.

These aren’t small offspring by any means though as they are about 6 feet tall when they are born. They can also weigh about 150-200 pounds. In captivity they are a huge attraction for visitors. However, in the wild they are a threat to the entire herd as they will attract more predators to that group than normal. They can grow very high during that first year of life.

Giraffe Breeding and Reproduction

Giraffe cow with adorable calf.

Amazingly, they learn how to walk within a couple of hours. However, they do get tired very fast and that means they can become easy prey too. For about two weeks the young calves will rest as much as they can and be protected by their mothers. Only about 25% of young giraffes make it to adulthood. This is mainly due to such predators while they are still in their infancy.

The milk of the mother is very nutritious and the calves will drink from it for about the first year of life. Young giraffes feed from the grass and low lying leaves when they are about two months of age. They can do this standing underneath their mother while she feeds. In many herds though there are nurseries for the young to be protected while they mothers eat.