Baby giraffe? Nope, it's a dik-dik.

Is it really a baby giraffe?

Following on from a previous blog post on a fake baby polar bear, I came across a tweet containing an image of what was incorrectly labelled a “baby giraffe”.

[Update: the tweet has been deleted by the user, but luckily it’s everywhere – like imgur.]

But it isn’t a giraffe, it’s a dik-dik and it’s not the first time they’ve labelled a tweet incorrectly *NERD KLAXON*.

How do I know that it’s not a giraffe?

Firstly, giraffes are massive and most massive mammals tend to give birth to relatively giant young. Giraffe babies are pretty ungainly, but tend to be able to walk within a couple of hours, and importantly, keep up with it’s mother who runs fairly fast for an antelope on stilts. You don’t survive long on the plains of Africa without being able to run or without being able to keep up with mum.

Secondly, it doesn’t have horns – yes, giraffes are born with horns! Although they are born flat against its head to spare too much pain to the mother, they soon spring up.

Finally, it also has a gland just below its eye that can be seen on quite a lot of ungulate mammals but not on giraffes. This preorbital gland secretes pheromones which are used to communicate with other members of its species. This point is less obvious to those who don’t know their ungulates, but I thought I’d throw it in for good measure.Secondly, it doesn’t have horns – yes, giraffes are born with horns! Although they are born flat against its head to spare too much pain to the mother, they soon spring up.

How do I know that it’s a dik-dik?

Baby dik-dik

Baby dik-dik and zoo handler. Copyright Chester Zoo.

The main giveaway is the glorious mane of hair! Although, the exceedingly large eyes and funnel-like rabbit ears are also tell-tale signs. Dik-diks are one of the smallest antelopes, and whoever is feeding it looks like they could fit the whole animal in their hand!

Plus, a quick reverse image search confirms its species and birthplace: Chester Zoo.

So now you know. This isn’t a giraffe, it’s a dik-dik.

3 comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! I must share it as this picture of a “giraffe” is making the rounds on my news feed on FB. It’s driving me crazy! Some people are like Oh, ok, I was wrong but then others are desperately defensive of it being a giraffe! Facts don’t deter some people…. :)

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