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The Incredible Giraffe
Just How Tall is a Giraffe?
Have you ever wondered just how tall a Giraffe really is?
Can you imagine standing next to a Giraffe and seeing just how far you could touch on their neck?
Could you even reach their neck?
Find out the answer to this and other facts about these amazing animals here.
All photos on this page are (c) by Linda Hoxie, all rights reserved
The Giraffe - "Colossal in Height" - How tall is a Giraffe?
How Tall are They?
The Giraffe is the tallest of all living animals.
Males can be up to 18 feet tall.
(As tall as a 2 story building)
The female giraffe is up to 16 feet in height.
Did you know;
At birth, a newborn baby giraffe
is already 6 feet tall,
the height of a full grown man!
The Giraffe's "Horns" - What are they called?
Photo © by Photographer Linda Hoxie
Giraffes have two distinct, hair-covered horns called "ossicones" on top of their head.
The Giraffe: Magnificent in Appearance - What does a giraffe look like?
What does a giraffe look like?
The Giraffe is very tall and lanky.
They have very long legs, that are six feet long.
Just think about it, a giraffe's legs are as tall as an average man. Many of us could walk right underneath a Giraffes belly and not even have to duck. (Used as an example of height only, if you meet a giraffe in person, walking under their belly is not recommended!)
They have extremely long necks, also six feet long.
Though their necks only have 7 vertebrae,
(Each vertebrae can be over 10" long!) Imagine one vertebrae almost a foot long, wow!
Some Giraffes have lumpy heads - These are made of calcium deposits
Photo © by Photographer Linda Hoxie
The also have very lumpy heads, as they age they get calcium deposits that build up on their head, like the giraffe above.
What does a Giraffe's feet look like - The tend to be large
The feet of a Giraffe
The giraffe's feet can be as large as a dinner plate, twelve inches wide.
The above photo is the feet on a baby giraffe, you can see how much wider they are than their legs.
The Giraffe's Coat or spots - Each Giraffe has it's own Unique pattern in their coat
The coat of a Giraffe is Unique
Each Giraffe has it's own Unique pattern in their coat. You can see the difference in the spots on this mother giraffe and her baby. But their coat is spotted in a square pattern on most, dark in the middle and lighter on the outer squares.
The Giraffe: Unique in Gait - How the Giraffe Moves
The Giraffe moves like no other
The Unique movement of the Giraffe.
When a giraffe walks it moves both right legs forward, then both left.
When they gallop, however, the giraffe simultaneously swings the hind legs ahead of and outside the front legs, reaching speeds of 35 miles an hour.
Giraffes on Amazon
Baby giraffe running
The Giraffe: How and What do they Eat? - What does a giraffe eat?
What does a giraffe eat?
The giraffe lives on the Savanna, in the Sahara. It is dry and the green vegetation is very high!
This suits the giraffe perfectly, they are herbivores, and eat a diet of around (75 lbs)
of leaves and twigs daily.
As ruminants, they first chew their food, swallow for processing and then visibly regurgitate the semi-digested cud up their necks and back into the mouth, in order to chew again.
Their favorite leaves are from the acacia tree. Acacia trees have long thorns that keep most animals from eating the leaves. But those thorns don't stop the giraffes! They simply use their 18-inch tongues, (yes you read that right, 18" tongues!) to reach around the thorns. Their tongues almost look bluish black in color, as you can see in the photo I took above.
The Giraffe: Breeding - and Life expectancy
Giraffes are polygamous, a few older males in the herd will mate with all the females.
The female giraffe's gestation is around 14 months long.
Baby giraffes have a bit of a rude awakening as they "drop" into this world, literally dropped six feet onto their head.
The drink milk from their mothers, and start eating leaves around four months of age.
Mothers will often leave them with other young in the herd in a type of nursery while they forage for food.
Baby giraffes are most often the prey of lions and crocodiles.
In the wild the giraffes life expectancy is twenty to twenty-five years.
In captivity it is around 28 years.
The Giraffe: Can you say insomaniac? - Could you survive on a Giraffe's amount of sleep?
Sleep Deprived: Or just don't need it?
The giraffe has one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal, which is between 10 minutes and two hours in a 24-hour period, averaging 1.9 hours per day.
In the wild it is probably a good thing they sleep so little, as they are very vulnerable when they sleep.
So what do you think, could you survive on a Giraffe's amount of sleep?
The Giraffe: A Gentle Giant
Giraffes are Social Animals.
They are non-territorial.
They rarely fight, males will sometimes display a behavior called "necking", where they will hit necks aggressively, when the females are in heat. But they rarely injure each other, and displays do not last very long.
Giraffes can moo, hiss, roar, and whistle.
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