Wassawa and Nakato are the second set of living giraffe twins born in the United States

The only living set of twin-reticulated giraffes was born on May 10 at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in New Braunfels, Tex.

The twins, Wasswa and Nakato, are the second set of living twin giraffes reported as born in the United States, and only the ninth worldwide.

Wasswa, the first-born female, stood at 4.5 feet and weighed 95 pounds. Nakato, the second-born male, stood at 5.5 feet and weighed 125 pounds, according to a press release from the ranch.

The twins were a surprise to the ranch caretakers who, after rushing to make sure the smaller-than-average Wasswa was alright shortly after birth, unexpectedly saw that their mother, Carol, was giving birth to a second giraffe. They decided to keep Wasswa with Carol so that she could receive more attention, and moved Nakato to a neighboring enclosure. Nakato has been hand-reared since birth.

However, when they tried to reintroduce Nakato a few days later, Carol showed mild aggression toward him. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch spokeswoman and animal specialist Tiffany Soechting told the San Antonio Express-News that Carol “kicked at him and tried to push him away. It's a natural reaction because she's protecting Wasswa. So we put him back in the separate enclosure.” Nakato’s enclosure shares a fence with Carol and Wasswa’s enclosure. When Carol and Nakato are close together at the fence, however, she will often lick him – a way that mother giraffes groom and bond with their offspring.

Nakato has brief visits with Wasswa and Carol, but these have to be closely monitored.

Soechting has said that as the twins reach the three-week mark, both are thriving.

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