Murchison falls national park giraffes
Murchison falls national park is the largest and most visited national park located in north western Uganda. This national park was gazette in 1952 together with Queen Elizabeth national park which is the second largest national park located in south western Uganda. Murchison falls national park is a home of various wildlife species including vegetation types, animal species such as the elephants, lions, leopards and the buffalos. However one can also get a chance to see the rhinos which are found at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Murchison falls national park which adds on your big four mammals in the park to make them the big five. The park also harbors other animals such as bushbucks, warthogs, hippos, waterbucks, oribi, crocodiles, Jackson’s hartebeest, primates like chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, over 450 bird species such as the elusive shoebill stork, goliath heron, yellow billed stork, secretary bird, white faced whistling duck, grey headed kingfisher, black headed lapwing, long toed plover among others.
Murchison falls National Park is one of the national parks in Uganda harboring the tallest animal in the world the Rothschild giraffe. The giraffe is the most recognized animal in the park due to its height and long neck and beautiful patchwork coat. Rothschild giraffe is an elegant and majestic animal to watch on your safari in Murchison falls national park. Rothschild giraffes are unique creatures and you can also find them in Kidepo valley national park and Lake Mburo national park though the biggest number of the giraffes can be viewed in Murchison falls national park. Due to the high number of giraffes in Murchison falls national park they were translocated to other destinations such as Lake Mburo national park, Kidepo valley national park, Pian Upe wildlife reserve and the southern sector of the Murchison falls national park, this is done so as to increase the number of Rothschild giraffes in Uganda.
Interesting facts about Rothschild giraffes
Height and weight
A male Rothschild giraffe can grow to a height of 6 meters tall (20 feet) and weigh up to 3,600 pounds, a female giraffe can grow to a height of 4.5 meters tall and weigh up to 2,600pounds and produce giraffe which weights around 150pounds and 5 feet tall.
Giraffes are herbivores which feed on vegetation. They use their long neck and tongue which is about 45 centimeters to feed on shrubs like leaves, young shoots, stems, fruits, tree barks and forage from one tree to another. Giraffes sleep for as little as 30 minutes to about 4 hours and they sleep while standing which means that they spend about 16 to 30 hours feeding in the park. Due to its size an adult giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of food each day. The giraffes hardly drink water but instead they receive their water through the leaves which they feed on such as acacia trees.
Giraffes live in savannah grassland and woodland vegetation which are comprised of scattered tall trees and open forests where they will be able to feed and run around. They are one of the fastest animals in that they can run reaching to a speed of 56kilometres per hour and due to their height and long neck, they cannot live in dense forests because dense forests make their movement and feeding difficult. They live in groups of 10 to20 individuals and sometimes form groups with about 50 individuals, the groups are made up of males, females and the young ones. When the male giraffes mature, they leave the group and live a solitary life. They are gregarious, have excellent eyesight and do not lie down while sleeping, due to this behavior it prevents them against the predators like lions. Giraffes live up to 26 years in the wild and sometimes longer when in captivity.
Male giraffes are not sociable as the females therefore they establish dominance among the herds by fighting. When eating the males forage food at a higher elevation than the females who forage food at their body height.
Unique features about Rothschild giraffe
Rothschild giraffes in Uganda are different from other giraffes in terms of the coat color which consists of dark orange and brown patches with beige and creamy white through them. Rothschild giraffes have white socks on the legs which continue up to the knees and three horns for the males and two horns for the females where two of them are in the same place and the third horn in the center of their forehead. A giraffe moves both right legs simultaneously followed by both left legs and the neck which contains seven vertebrae also the same as that of humans. The new born baby of a giraffe stands at about 2meters tall (6 feet).
How to differentiate a male and female giraffe
A male Rothschild giraffe is bigger in size than the female giraffe
Rothschild giraffes have five horns called Ossicones and those for the males are on top while those of the females have hair on them
Males have three Ossicones and develop calcium deposits which form bumps on their skulls as the age which makes it look like additional horns while females have 2 Ossicones with thinner and far upon them. These calcium deposits protect the heads of male giraffes during a fight.
Males grow up to 20 feet tall with a weight of about 3,600 pounds while the females grow up to 16 feet tall with a weight of up to 2,600 pounds.
Male giraffes grow darker in color at an old age while the females maintain their color.
Rothschild giraffes in the park can be viewed during the game drive, nature walk, boat cruise along Victoria Nile and you will also get an opportunity to see other animals because Murchison falls national park harbors over 76 animals such as the lions, leopards, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, elephants, bushbucks, oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, primates like blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees in Budongo forest, bird species such as the pre-historic shoebill stork, goliath heron, black headed lapwing, marabou stork, giant kingfisher, black bellied bustard, grey crowned crane among others hence making your safari in Murchison falls national park exciting and unforgettable.