The one thing we discovered on our South Africa trip is that animals really do have lots of personality. Before I had kids I thought children were little blank slates and their personalities developed later. Similarly I hadn’t given much thought to the personalities of non-domesticated animals. I’ve already mentioned the meditating penguin who stared at a rock on Boulder Beach for hours.

Now meet Iggy, a 3 year old giraffe at the safari park we went to, Garden Route Safari Lodge. In giraffe terms, Iggy is a teenager. Whenever we saw him, he was near his parents but still apart from them. Either he was in the field across from them or another set of trees nearby, etc. He seemed to be trying to assert his independence while his mother watched from nearby. My children chuckled when he moved away every time his mother moved closer to him.

In this picture you see Iggy sitting down which only young giraffes do. It’s hard for a giraffe to get up and so sitting makes them vulnerable to predators. Most giraffes sleep standing up. They don’t need much sleep – between 20 minutes to 4 hours in a 24 hour cycle. Iggy seemed to have a bit of a cough so perhaps he was feeling poorly!

We were told Iggy means “feet first”. All giraffes are born feet first. The fall down from their mother to the ground starts their heart pumping and clears the birth gunk from his body.

Iggy is ready for mating and the park is looking for a suitable partner for him. Maybe he’ll be ready to hang out with his parents again once he’s got a girlfriend!

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