Why Do Giraffes Have Horns

Why Do Giraffes Have Horns? Know Its Advantages and Disadvantages.


Almost all of us are familiar with the name of the giraffe. Either you have read about the giraffe or seen it on television. Many of you have seen them at the zoo. And some fortunate people in this world have witnessed them walking in the forest. But have you ever wondered why giraffes have lions?

In 2016, around 100000 giraffes existed in the world. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), giraffes are endangered. In 2010, most of the giraffes were either in zoos or game reserves.

Today we are going to talk about giraffe’s horns in this article. This article is going to be entertaining for you, so read it till the end to get complete information.

What is the Purpose of the Horns or Ossicones on the Giraffe?

The horns of the head of Giraffes are called Ossicones. It is unlike the horns of other animals like buffaloes and cows because it does not have a bony core. Ossicones are made of very hard cartilage.

Ossicones have so many advantages. Ossicones are used to distinguish males and females. Females have narrow horns angled horizontally relative to the head. They also have more fur on their horns. Giraffes generally use their horns to protect themselves.

Additionally, some scientists believe that Ossicones regulate body temperature as well. The nerves and blood supply of Ossicones would make them ideal for thermoregulation, but this has not been proven.

What is the Purpose of the Horns or Ossicones on the Giraffe
What is the Purpose of the Horns or Ossicones on the Giraffe

So do all giraffes have horns? Both male and female giraffes have Ossicones but it is absent in baby giraffes which are called Calves Giraffes. It has been explained that the absence of Ossicones in calves is to protect the mother during birth.

Giraffes are mammals like humans and can give birth while standing. Ossicones on calves would cause internal injuries to the mother and this can be dangerous. Predators would easily capture an injured mother and her defenseless calf. In this way, you can say that Ossicones have a few disadvantages as well.

How do giraffes protect themselves?

In contrast, males have larger horns that increase in size as they age. Their horns are also bald on top because Ossicones are their primary weapon during fights. Giraffe fights are called Necking.

A giraffe may be preyed upon by cheetahs, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, or African wild dogs.

During fights, giraffes bang their necks against each other with great force. A giraffe’s neck can weigh up to 600 pounds and is used to topple opponents when necking. Necking is used to show strength between males and subtle disputes.

Why Do Giraffes Have Horns
Why Do Giraffes Have Horns

Ossicones add weight to a giraffe’s head and because it grows bigger with age older male giraffes have an advantage over younger males. Also, male giraffes that have fought many battles, have balder Ossicones than those that have not.

Frequently Asking Questions:

1. What do we call the horns of the giraffe?

A Giraffe’s horns are called Ossicones. Buffalo horns do not have a bony core like those of other animals.

2. What are the “horns” made of?

The horns are made up of hard and tough cartilage. They are not the horns like other animals such as cows, buffalos, etc. It is not like antlers because ossicones are covered with skin. Furthermore, they are not as hard as horns. Those bones will attach to the skull of the little giraffe as it grows up.

However, the ossicones are not attached to the skull when the giraffe is born. Apparently, this is done in order to prevent the little calves’ heads from being damaged by breaking. Ossicones feel soft and firm like giraffe legs when touched.

The ossicones of the giraffe differ greatly from actual horns in this respect. Their skin covers them and they are soft so they don’t resemble horns.

3. What are the disadvantages of Ossicones?

Ossicones on calves can cause internal injuries to their mothers, which can be very dangerous for them. If a mother and her calf were injured, a predator would easily capture them.

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Final Thoughts:

Hope you have got all the answers related to Giraffes’ horns or Ossicones. If you still have any doubts you may write in the comment section. Also, let us know if this content is helpful for you.

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