The Giraffe – DID YOU KNOW?
- Eats up to 75 pounds of food a day (typically Acacia leaves)
- Favorite food – Acacia Leaves
- Tongue is 18 inches long
- Have a four chambered stomach and will regurgitate their food for additional chewing – similarly to a cow.
- Typically get most of their water from the Acacia leaf, but will drink up to 10 gallons of water per day.
- Knobs are called Ossicones
- Although rarely heard, Giraffes can moo, hiss, roar and whistle to communicate with one another
- Have the longest tail of any land mammal – up to 8 feet long, including the tuft at the end.
- Giraffes at the San Diego zoo enjoy raw onions as a special treat
- Ancient Romans and Greeks thought that the Giraffe was a mix between a camel and a leopard. This is where their scientific Genus name of "camelopardalis" comes from.
- Their heart is 2 feet long and weighs about 25 pounds
- The heart's muscular walls are several inches thick
- They have the highest known blood pressure of any mammal in the world – up to 280/180mm Hg when prone at heart level (approximately twice that of an average human)
- Their heart beats up to 170 times/minute
- Jugular vein contains a series of one way valves that prevent the back flow of blood when the Giraffes head is down to drink water. This prevents the Giraffe from blacking out.
- The heart pumps about 16 gallons of blood/minute
- Oxpeckers(tick birds) are often seen "hitching" a ride on the backs of Giraffes. They help keep the Giraffe parasite free by eating ticks and other parasites off of the Giraffes skin.
- Extreme care must be taken when scientists catch Giraffes for study or for capture for a zoo exhibit. If the Scientists run the Giraffe too long, the Giraffe will suffer a heart attack due to its high blood pressure. Scientists typically target younger Giraffes for this reason.
- Have no tear ducts, although they have been seen crying
- Have never been observed bathing
- Mom Giraffes form a type of daycare for their young. One of the females in the heard will stay behind and baby sits all of the youngsters while the rest of the females go out foraging for food.
- Despite its extreme length, the Giraffes neck is actually too short to reach the ground. As a result, it has to awkwardly spread its front legs or kneel on its front legs in order to reach the ground to drink water.
- It is the tallest animal in the world
- Males stand 16-18 feet; Females 14-16 feet
- Males weigh up to 2,000 pounds; Females a bit lighter
- Females use their hooves as weapons only to defend their young.
- They are strong enough to kill a lion, which is the Giraffe's only real predator.
- Born with horns
- Both males and females have them.
- Covered with skin
- Males are thicker and heavier and are used sometimes to fight other males.
- Only found naturally in Africa
- Their tongue is black
- Can gallop 31-37 miles per hour
- Form herds and travel together for protection
- Their average territorial range is approximately 46 square miles
- Males known as bulls
- Females known as cows
- Can rest standing up
- Usually only sleep 5 minutes at a time
- When sleeping, the giraffe generally lies on the ground, tucking its front legs under itself, then curls its neck back and rests its head on its rump.
- Females have their first conception in their fifth year.
- Gestation period is 15 months
- Interval between births is generally 20 months
- Life expectancy of 25 years in the wild
- A baby is generally 6 feet tall and will weigh about 150 pounds at birth
- A baby will fall approximately 6 feet during birth before hitting the ground
- A baby will begin nursing within one hour
- A baby will generally also begin walking within one hour
- They spend between 16 and 20 hours a day feeding