Umbilical cord stump retention and age estimation of newborn giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)

The umbilical cord stump is a conspicuous characteristic used to identify recently born giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) (Foster & Dagg, 1972; Langman, 1977; Leuthold & Leuthold, 1978; Pratt & Anderson, 1979; Pellew, 1981; Dagg & Foster, 1982). However, there is surprising disagreement over the length of time that the umbilical stump remains attached, with reports varying from about 4 weeks (Pellew, 1981; Serengeti, Tanzania: subsp. tippelskirchi) to 6 weeks (Leuthold & Leuthold, 1978; Tsavo East, Kenya: subsp. tippelskirchi) to 60 days (Langman, 1977; Timbavati, South Africa: subsp. giraffa) to 2–3 months (Dagg & Foster, 1982; Nairobi Park, Kenya: subsp. tippelskirchi) to up to 4 months (Hall-Martin, Skinner & van Dyk, 1975) and to even 5 months (Savoy, 1966, hand-reared captive calf, born to mother of subsp. reticulata). Here, we present compelling evidence from the observation of 64 Serengeti giraffes indicating that the umbilical stump of wild Masai giraffes (subsp. tippelskirchi) is retained for at least 2–3 months, and we briefly note the significance of this finding.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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