Giraffes may reproduce at anytime throughout the year. When a female,
cow, is ready to mate all of the males, bulls, compete for her. The
dominant bull drives off all the others and wins the cow. Once they
have mated the gestation period is fourteen months. When they are born
giraffes are already six feet tall! Calves are born at a
calving ground. These grounds are used by many females over and over
again. This is so when the females go to feed the calves can protect
each other. Fifty percent of calves are killed by predators in the
first six months of life. Those that survive can grow up to an inch a
day in the first six months, and by the end of a year they will usually have
doubled their size. Both male and female calves are not weaned until they are
fifteen months old. After this time the females stay with their
mothers herd while the males wander away.
Photo by Lauren Darcey. All rights reserved.