Are giraffes most affected by lightning due to their height?

The answer would seem a foregone conclusion “yes”, giraffes are hit more by thunderbolts because of their long necks. In reality, however, we still don’t know.

When Ciska Scheijen, an animal conservation ecologist on the South African Rockwood Reservation, searched for scientific studies on the subject, she found none. She needed them to comment, on an article published in the African Journal of Ecology, on the discovery of the bodies of two giraffes after a violent storm.

One, five years old, with a fracture on the skull near the right oxycodone (the “little horns” that giraffes have), and the other, four years old, found nearby, with no apparent damage. There was, however, a strong smell of ammonia coming from both carcasses, a sign that they had been struck by lightning.

One, five years old, with a fracture on the skull near the right oxycodone (the “little horns” that giraffes have), and the other, four years old, found nearby, with no apparent damage. There was, however, a strong smell of ammonia coming from both carcasses, a sign that they had been struck by lightning.

Scheijen then speculated that one of the giraffes had been hit directly by the lightning bolt and the other by the electrical discharge spreading across the wet ground.

The very few studies on the behavior of giraffes in the wild, however, have allowed her to make only hypotheses. For example, if a thunderstorm is coming, do they lower their necks? Or do they choose areas with taller and denser trees, so as not to stand out against lower vegetation? For researchers, the hunt for the answer is on.

We know something more about their ethology: giraffes are social animals, and females, in particular, live in large groups and are linked by intricate and very close relationships. The friendship between giraffes is decisive for these animals:

those who spend more time in company live longer than those who lead a solitary life.

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Autore:

Gabriela Paratore

Classe:

4°B Liceo Linguistico Enrico Medi Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto

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