News

Videos: Male giraffes drink female giraffes' pee as part of their mating ritual

Have you ever been to the zoo and caught an eyeful of two animals in flagrante delicto? This week's cover story, "Beauty of the Beasts," explains why and how that happens. One of the weirdest animal mating habits included in the story's sidebar is a tidbit about giraffes: In order to tell whether a female giraffe is ready for babymaking, a male giraffe will lick her pee -- as she's peeing! -- in order to detect the hormones that indicate that she's ovulating. And if you're a lucky zoo-goer, you'll catch the entire thing on video. [jump]

Below are five of the best YouTube videos we could find of one giraffe licking another giraffe's pee. More than the images captured in these videos (which are amazing in their own right), it's the narration by the people behind the camera that makes them truly entertaining.

Our favorite narration is from a YouTube user called "Kirk Francis," whose accent sounds like something straight out of Downton Abbey. Here's an abridged transcript: "Dirty bugger, drinking his brother's wee. Watch him now, gargle.... What a tramp!... That's disgusting.... Is that normal? For a giraffe to drink another giraffe's wee? Is nobody giving these giraffes water?" Um, Kirk? That's not the giraffe's brother.

Our second-favorite narration comes from a user who calls himself "skippybuttknuckle" and addresses the taller of the two giraffes that he's filming at a zoo as "big guy." Here's an excerpt of skippybuttknuckle's commentary: "Get some more, big guy!... There he goes!... Gargle, gargle, gargle, gargle.... That's awesome."

In our opinion, the following video gives the best view of what's really going on.

The narrator in this next video offers a possible explanation: "It must be really hot."

And finally, a tour guide explains all:

More from our News archive: "Are baby giraffes cuter than baby monkeys? You be the judge."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar