I am very pleased to let you know (if you don’t already know) that we now have 4 Rothschild Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi at the park so our tower is now complete.
We have recently welcomed our two new males from Longleat Safari Park. It felt very much like déjà vu when the day arrived as back in March we welcomed Ruedi and Robin.
Ron and Evan
So, a little bit of information on the new lads; Ron is 3 years old turning 4 on 2nd August and Evan is 3 years old tuning 4 on the 8th December, making Evan the eldest out of our 4 boys.
Their personalities are very different as well, Evan is a very confident giraffe whereas Ron is a bit of a wimp and the total opposite! It kind of reminds me of when Robin and Ruedi first arrived, Robin was very confident and Ruedi was a wimp. Ruedi has now really come out of his shell and is a lot more confident than he was, so I’m sure in time Ron will be the same.
The day after their arrival it was time for all the boys to go in together to meet one another properly and it went well! Robin and Ruedi showed a lot of interested in them straight away, it might have been because they smelled like girl Giraffes (coming from a breeding herd at Longleat). After a bit of necking, mounting, licking and smelling the new boys were accepted into the Wingham tower which is now complete.
When thinking about Giraffes my first thought is their height, so you guys might be wondering who is the tallest Giraffe out of them all? In height order it goes Ruedi, Evan closely followed by Robin and then baby Ron. Sadly, I can’t give you exact heights of each individual as we haven’t got the height chart up in the house yet. Fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we do so we can all watch them grow taller and taller together.
Evan and Ron both look very different to one another which makes it very easy to tell them apart from one another. As I have already mentioned Ron is the smallest one but he also has such a baby face. Evan is very different in colour to all our boys; he’s got lighter coloured brown patches on him, can you tell him apart from the others in the photo above?
A giraffe’s spot pattern is similar to one of our fingerprints, it is a unique identifier. It also helps other giraffes to recognize who is in their family groups. It has been said that Reticulated giraffes have the most complicated patterns of any giraffe subspecies, although it’s often difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish differences between species or individuals. To a lot of people a Giraffe is a Giraffe, they all look the same and all must come from the same part of Africa. However, that’s not true and it’s possible to tell what type a giraffe is based on his location.
Each subspecies of giraffe has its own pattern style and within those styles each individual giraffe also has his own distinct pattern too, that’s why it is easy to tell our boys apart as they are all different.
Although there is some disagreement in the scientific world on the exact number of subspecies, there are currently nine. These include Rothschild, Reticulated, Kordofan, Nubian, Angolan, South African, West African, Thornicroft’s and Masai, if you got all 9 you should give yourself a big pat on the back!
All are immediately recognizable as giraffe spots, but some patterns stand out a little more from the other patterns. For example Angolan giraffes have notched indentations in most of their spots, Rothschild’s giraffes have wavy edges on their spots and are a solid cream colour below their knees and Masai giraffes have spots that resemble oak leaves, with deep, rounded indentations.
I recently went up to Whipsnade Zoo and they have a breeding herd of Reticulated Giraffes I could tell straight away that they were different from my Giraffes.
Maybe on your next trip to a zoo that has Giraffes you could do the same and see if you can spot the difference.