Monitor Diaries
April 15, 2015

Osteophagia? What the...

Who needs all those expensive supplements to keep you on top of your game when you can rather simply get some osteophagia in your life?The wildlife volunteers and I encountered this female giraffe in Ithala Game Reserve supplementing her diet by sucking on a bone. Our first clue to something unusual happening, was watching her trying to toss something that was too big to chew from side to side in her mouth – similar to when you see the tough guys in old movies chewing on a large piece of tobacco, moving the ball from cheek to cheek. It wasn't very ladylike at all and then out popped the bone.

This behaviour is quite common in giraffe and is known as osteophagia. They do this simply to supplement their diet with calcium and phosphorus that their bodies may be lacking and will use bones that are randomly found out in the bush.GIRAFFE OSTEOPHAGIA

Post and photograph by Kirsty van der Want (wildlife monitor)Project: Leopard Survey, Ithala Game Reserve, Zululand, South Africa