20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Serendipity on Safari

This appeared to be a giraffe choking on a bone stuck in its throat, holding its head high and swaying it from side to side in a rhythmic motion while working/chewing on the bone. However – the giraffe wasn’t choking; from time to time herbivores have a shortage of the necessary minerals and they supplement their diets by chewing on bones they may find. The practice is known as osteophagy. This was a serendipitous discovery – totally unexpected, but certainly a revelation or new learning experience. Farmers do give their animals dietary supplements like this, but never had I imagined that it occurs at all in a giraffe – an animal that is most certainly an herbivore!

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Hoedspruit, South Africa
Camera: E-M1
Copyright: © Colmar Wocke