By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans

TWO giraffes come neck to neck in an epic battle for the affections of a nearby female

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Videographer / director: Wild Life Tours Africa
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ruby Coote
Editor: Jack Stevens

Giraffes can weigh up to 3000 pounds and their necks alone can weigh up to 500 pounds

Co-owners of Wild-Life Tours Steven Mecinski and Britt van Meegen were conducting a safari for guests in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park - a big five game reserve in KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa - when they spotted two male giraffes sizing each other up.

Male giraffes use their necks as a weapon in dominance battles or to win the right to mate with females - cows - in a particular area.

The spotted animals are the tallest mammals on earth

Britt said: “As we encountered the giraffes, Steve noticed that the male giraffes were pushing against each other, a sign of sizing each other up and measuring each other's necks for dominance.

“When he saw this he quickly grabbed the camera since, with his years of experience, he could tell that we could possibly witness a unique sighting.

The males use their necks as their primary weapons in dominance battles

“Just as the camera was turned on the giraffes started hitting each other with their necks - in real life you can hear the impact hits up to 100 metres away.

“On this particular occasion we believe the two males were fighting over a female that was in close proximity.”

The safari company co-owners came across the unusual sighting while leading a safari tour

Giraffes can weigh up to 3000 lbs and their necks can top 500 lbs. While fighting they aim their necks at each other’s bodies, necks and legs.

The usually gentle giants also defend themselves with their powerful kicks, which can debilitate a victim with their hooves, and have been known to successfully defeat hunting lions.

Dust flew up around the giraffes as they swung at each other

Britt added: “Often giraffes necking ends with one of the males being knocked off balance and even knocked unconscious and possibly even death.

“These two bulls fought until one bull had dominated and possibly caused injuries to the other causing him to retreat into submission.

Eventually one of the males managed to scare off the other and won the fleeting fight

“These are normally physical signs shown such as tilting of ears, lowering of the neck, retreating or running away.”

Giraffes live in loose herds - made up of bulls, cows and calves - and will often come together and meet around waterholes. A gathering of giraffes is known as a tower or a journey.

Males will fight when establishing dominance or for the right to mate with a specific female

Britt said: “It is fairly common and necessary for male giraffes of all ages to neck each other while juveniles determine their strength and practice for the future when they will need to dominate a bull in necking for mating rights.

"To witness a full on dominance necking like this was a special occasion and only the second time in six years for Steve - even though he visits the park multiple times a week.

Giraffe herds are known as towers or journeys

“Protected areas are large with huge wilderness areas for the animals to escape the hassle of tourism.

“Taking into account these giraffes were spotted in the south section of the 96 thousand hectare game reserve it was obviously right place, right time!”