Giraffes Eating Skeletons Explained

Giraffes Eating Skeletons Explained

When one thinks of giraffe, an image of the peaceful herbivore lazily chomping on some leaves surely is the first to come up. We all know that giraffes are gentles and sometimes goofy creatures and we love them for their kind eyes with giant and cute eyelashes, as well as their adorable and weird bodies. However, images of giraffes eating skeletons have surfaced and took the Internet by storm.

Many Internet users were shocked at this gruesome display of necrophagia on the part of what we thought to be some of the kindest and gentlest mammals on the planet. But before you jump to any rash conclusions and start thinking of giraffes as long-necked hyenas, there is a perfectly scientific explanation for this seemingly unnatural behavior pattern of their species.

Bones Equals Calcium

According to a study that was carried out way back in 2013, giraffes engage in this behavior (known as osteophagia) in order to get the calcium and phosphorus necessary for the well-being of their own skeleton. They also consume horns, ivory and antlers on the regular in order to keep themselves nourished and healthy.

In fact, osteophagia is a more often encountered behavior among animals than you’d think. Not only giraffes scavenge amongst the skeletal remains of carrion, but camels and cattle do so too. There is scientific proof that these animals don’t consume bones out of pleasure, but rather out of necessity. So the next time you get spooked by that video of the cute giraffe eating away at the skull of a buffalo corpse, just remember that the poor animal is doing its best to survive.

What do you think about this ‘weird’ animal behavior? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear as many opinions as possible.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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