TEN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES
They are fascinating animals, and though they are slightly awkward looking in appearance, they also portray a unique gracefulness in their demeanor, that we could watch all day long.
Here are ten interesting facts about giraffes that you may find interesting:
Giraffes have the heaviest hearts of any land animals, weighing approximately 11Kgs, helping them pump 60 litres of blood around their bodies each minute. Impressive!
They are the tallest mammals on earth (but you knew that already!)
The tallest giraffe in the world was recorded to be 5.9metres, which is just over three stories high.
A Giraffe’s legs alone are taller than most humans (they are approximately 6 feet in length.)
A giraffe footprint is considerably larger than you would expect.
An adult hoove is 30cm in diameter.
Giraffe’s tongues are incredibly long and purple looking in colour, reaching up to 53cm.
Being herbivores, this helps them reach leaves that are high up in a tree. They have a lot of melanin in their tongues, which protects them from getting sunburned.
When Giraffes walk, they swing both legs on the same side at the same time, which is called pacing, similar to that of camels. However, when they break into a gallop, this motion changes to become the more common method used by four-legged mammals, which is alternating between all four legs.
When males fight, they fight not only by using their ossicones but also push and shove each other, which often includes the use of their powerful necks to deliver powerful blows to their opponent, this can result in the receiver being knocked out or even killed. Young giraffes are often seen practicing with one another, delivering softer blows as they master the art.
Their ‘horns’ are called ossicones and are used by males as a weapon when sparring, resulting in older males showing worn tips as they age — a great way of identifying the sex of a giraffe.
The Ossicones are made of cartilage when they are first born, which ossifies to become bone and eventually attaches to the skull. They grow to be approximately five inches in length.
Giraffe birth is something quite spectacular. After a 15-month gestation period, the mother will give delivery standing up, which means the newborn will drop nearly 2 meters as it emerges into the world. (They only give birth to a single baby.) To get the newborn moving, the mother will nudge it and lightly kick it until the little one gets on his feet. This process takes about an hour and is essential to have as quick as possible to prevent attacks from predators, who love to prey on the newborn.
Giraffes can eat up to 45kgs of leaves per day; the foliage supplies their bodies with a lot of their water intake.
Therefore they do not need to drink water every day, but once every few days as necessary.
We hoped you enjoyed these interesting facts about giraffes.
Why not book a visit to Muluwa Lodge, and see them in close proximity from the lodge wildlife estate.
Book your stay HERE or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Geographic Society. “Giraffe.” Web Accessed March 21, 2015.