A Giraffe and His Bird
The giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world! It's of the genus Giraffa, family Giraffidae, and is an African even-toed ungulate mammal. The bird sitting between the giraffe's ears is an African Tickbird. It's a symbiotic relationship: the bird gets fat on the giraffe's ticks and the giraffe doesn't have ticks giving it diseases and slurping its blood.
Of course, most of us recognize the long neck and legs and its distinctive coat patterns. They're herbivores but there lies another trait many of us know them for: browsing where only they can browse--at the tops of trees. They don't have a lot of predators, but in Africa there are some very clever predators that can bring down even these tall giraffes...lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs. Giraffes live in a matriararchal herd of related females and their offspring, often large herds. The moms are smart enough to know that when those boys become of a certain age, they shoo them out of the herd. These kicked-out males often form bachelor herds of unrelated adult males. Giraffe "necking" isn't what we usually think of when we think "necking". Males decide what the social hierarchies are going to be by necking, which is combat where the neck is used as a weapon. The winners win the hands of the females.
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