A young giraffe and a zebra at Longleat Safari Park engaged in their own version of the wacky races - a clear signal spring is definitely on its way.

The pair were spotted making the most of the sunshine as they hurtled around the Wiltshire wildlife attraction’s 60-acre reserve; much to the delight of visitors who witnessed their high jinks.

Fifteen month old Rothschild male giraffe, Rudy, and male Grant’s zebra, Iebe, competed in the frantic runabout as the other members of their herds looked on with bemusement.

“It was quite a sight to see them galloping across the reserve,” said keeper Ian Turner, who captured their antics on camera.

“As a stallion Iebe is looking to establish his own territory and show off his speed, however it looks like he met his match with this young giraffe who proved to be more than a match for him.”

“It’s not unusual to see this type of territorial behaviour in zebras and, although it can look quite frantic, it is quite a natural interaction between the two species,” he added.

Standing up to 5.8 metres tall and weighing close to 1,000 kg an adult Rothschild giraffe has both height and weight advantage over the Grant’s zebra which weighs in at around 300 kg and rarely reaches more than 140 cms in height.

However when it comes to top speed surprisingly it is the zebra that has the go faster stripes; reaching speeds in excess of 64 km/h compared to the giraffe’s slightly more sedate, but still impressive, 56 km/h.

The Rothschild giraffe is named after Lionel Walter Rothschild who first described the subspecies in the early 1900s.

The Rothschild is officially endangered in the wild with a population believed to be made up of less than 2,500 individuals. Longleat has one of the most successful breeding programmes for giraffes in the UK having raised well in excess of 100 calves.

Grant’s zebra are a subspecies of plains zebra and there are thought to be approximately 300,000 left in the wild.

At Longleat the herd share the 60-acre enclosure with a group of Rothschild’s giraffes.

This mirrors the situation in the wild where the combination of the giraffes’ height and eyesight and the zebras’ acute hearing offers mutual protection against predators.