Interesting Facts About the Giraffe!

interesting-facts

For obvious reasons, giraffes are the tallest animals in the world. With an eternal neck like that, no wonder you might say! It almost seems as if they come from another planet!

Apart from its unmistakably long and unusual neck, what do you really know about the giraffe??? Any ideas? Why don’t we find out together?

Its Tongue

Thankfully the giraffe’s tongue is not as imposing as its neck, yet it is still worth mentioning (around 45 cm). Why that long? Well you see, the animal’s favorite food comes from the acacia tree. For most animals acacia leaves are unattainable due to the huge thorns on the tree (several cm long; trust me you wouldn’t want to get some of those anywhere near you). For the giraffe however, this is no issue whatsoever; thanks to its prehensile lip and tongue it can maneuver a way around thorns to reach its treat. Et voila! Easy, huh?! 😉

The tongue’s colour is also quite intriguing. It has a distinctive purple bluish colour, which acts as natural sunscreen!

Its Neck

A long neck is extremely advantageous to reach the highest leaves from trees. Do you know how many bones form a giraffe’s neck? 20? 30? 50? NOT EVEN CLOSE!

Let me give you a hint: how many vertebrae do we have in our neck?

If you’re still wondering the answer’s 7; exactly the same as the giraffe! Amazing, isn’t it?! Of course giraffe vertebrae are just a little larger (up to 25 cm long), and heavier than ours :).

Its Unique Pattern

Giraffes have a superb patterned skin that looks slightly like burnt pop corn! They are a beauty to watch, and their coat is like no other; perhaps the only animal that could rival its originality would be the leopard!

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The gestation period for the animal is around 15 months, and they usually breed all year round. Only one calf is born at a time (twins are extremely rare).

Like most births it can be quite traumatizing for the new being. Nonetheless, for baby giraffe in particular it is a very uncharacteristic welcome; the calf makes a 1.8 m plunge onto the ground. Hard to imagine, right? While the fall does not hurt the calf, it enables it to take its first deep breath. After as little as an hour, the baby will be up and running as if nothing had just happened! Truly fascinating!!!

Male versus Female

Male:

– Larger than female (up to 5.7 m in height; females +/- 60 cm shorter).

– Heavier (973-1395 kg).

– Darker skin as the individual matures.

– Larger and longer (up to 13 cm) horns on the head; get bold over time because of fights.

– Single medial horn on the forehead, and a bump over each eye socket and behind each ear.

Female:

– Smaller (700 kg on average; 4-5 m in height).

– Lighter skin.

– The cow’s horns turn inwards and are well tufted.

Species

There is only one giraffe species, but several subspecies (9 in total). What distinguishes them from one another is the area they live in, their diet, and the variety of patterns on the skin. The most common subspecies is the Masai giraffe which mainly inhabits the regions of Kenya and Tanzania. Other types include the Rothschild’s giraffe (western Kenya), and the prettiest of them all: the Reticulated type. The latter has an incredible coat pattern, with crisp liver-coloured geometric patches!

Predators?

Giraffes have very few predators because of their size and fearful kick that can kill in the blink of an eye! They are most vulnerable while drinking, as they have to lean forward to reach the water. Lions prey on giraffe during that time, as well as large crocodiles. On some occasions hyenas may also go for them, although they will only target young ones.

Slow Motion

Have you ever watched a giraffe running? They can achieve speeds of almost 60 kph yet it feels like they are advancing in slow motion! Very funny to watch!

Intriguing Giraffe Facts

Intriguing

Here are some fascinating giraffe facts that you may not have known…

  • The giraffe is one of the most easily recognized and loved Kenyan animals. This majestic tall blond roams the savanna with its extra-long neck and graceful stride.
  • A male giraffe is called a bull, a female a cow and a baby a calf. A group of giraffes is called a herd.
  • The scientific name for the giraffe is Giraffa camelopardalis, because the ancient Romans believed that, owing to its patches and height, it was a leopard and camel crossbreed.
  • 3 giraffe species occur in Kenya. These are the common Masai giraffe, the striking reticulated giraffe that is found in the northern reaches of Kenya and the gravely endangered Rothschild giraffe.
  • About 45,000 of the world’s 140,000 giraffes live in Kenya. As the habitat of nearly one-third of the world’s giraffe population, Kenya is home to the largest giraffe population in the world.
  • The giraffe is the tallest terrestrial mammal and can attain a height of 18 feet. That is more than 3 average men standing on top of each other.
  • A male giraffe can weigh up to 2,600 lbs and a female giraffe more that 1,800 lbs. The male giraffe therefore weighs far more than 10 average men put together.
  • The giraffes’ long necks are critical to their survival as they allow them to eat the moist leaves on top of trees that they wouldn’t otherwise reach. Males, in addition, use their necks as weapons against other male giraffes.
  • Because giraffes are ruminants, they have a four-chamber stomach that allows them to regurgitate and re-chew their food.
  • Although it is rare to hear, giraffes make sounds. A giraffe will, in fact, moo, hiss, whistle, and even roar when communicating with other giraffes.
  • Another of the fascinating giraffe facts relates to its blood pressure. Giraffes are known to have the highest recorded blood pressure of any mammal which is about twice the normal blood pressure of a human being. This is because the giraffe’s heart has to pump blood at a much higher pressure to enable it to move up the long neck in order to reach the brain.
  • Owing to this organ’s enormous duties and responsibilities, the giraffe has one of the biggest hearts in the animal kingdom. This measures 2 feet and weighs a mind-boggling 25 lbs.
  • While female giraffes travel in herds, the males are solitary animals that only meet up with female herds to breed.
  • The giraffe’s gestation period is lasts 14-15 months. Females give birth while standing, usually to a single calf, but occasionally to twins.
  • The giraffe can eat up to 140 lbs of food a day with its favorite meal being the Acacia leaves.
  • Giraffes are very light sleepers and sleep for between 20 minutes to 2 hours a day.
  • Both male and female giraffes grow horns, called Ossicones. The males’ are thicker and are occasionally used to fight other males.
  • Even though giraffes are tall, they can run at a speed of 34 miles per hour.
  • Another of the fascinating giraffe facts is that these elegant Kenya animals can live up to 25 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity.

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