You might know that Giraffes are the tallest creatures in the world, but there’s much more to them than meets the eye. For example: did you know that Giraffes spend most of their day eating, and a full-grown giraffe consumes over 45 kg of leaves and twigs a day. Or that the male giraffe is both taller and heavier than the female. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the most interesting and unknown facts about these tall creatures.
- Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth. Their legs alone are taller than many humans, about 6 feet.
- An adult male can grow to around 5.5m, that’s taller than three adult humans.
- They can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances, and at 10 mph over longer distances.
- A giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. As a result, it has to awkwardly spread its front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water.
- Giraffes only need to drink once every few days. Most of their water comes from all the plants they eat.
- A giraffe’s height is helpful for keeping a look out for predators, such as lions and hyenas. Their excellent eyesight also allows them to spot hungry beasts from far away.
- Giraffes are very social animals and roam around in groups. These groups are called towers, and usually have around 15 members led by an adult male. The other members are females and young males.
- To see who is stronger, males giraffes fight each other by butting their long necks and heads. This is known as “necking“. These fights aren’t usually dangerous, and end when one admits defeat and walks away.
- Female giraffes give birth standing up, meaning that the newborns are born into the world with a 1.5m drop to the ground.
- Infant giraffes are quick learners, within 30 minutes of birth, they are standing, and only hours later they’re able to run with their mothers.
- Female giraffes often return to where they were born to give birth.
- Giraffes’ tongues can be up to 20 inches long and are darkly colored, which is thought to help protect them during frequent sun-exposure.
- Giraffes have hair-covered horns called ossicones, but only males use them for fighting.
- The giraffe’s scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis, comes from the ancient Greeks’ belief that it looked like a camel wearing a leopard’s coat.
- Although they’re more likely to run from an attack than fight back, giraffes are not completely defenseless, and are extremely powerful. A swift kick from one of their long legs can do serious damage, or even kill the attacker.
- You don’t need to know this, but Male giraffes will test a female’s fertility by tasting her urine.
- The first giraffe to make its way to Europe was brought there by Julius Caesar from Alexandria in 46 B.C. as part of a triumphant return to Rome after years of civil war.
- New-born giraffes stand at around 6 feet tall, making them taller than most adult humans.
- Giraffes don’t sleep much. Most of them get around 10 minutes to two hours of sleep per day.
- Even when they get the little amount of sleep required each day, they don’t lie down. Giraffes go to sleep standing up most of the time.
- The patterns on a giraffe are totally unique, no two giraffes are ever the same.
- Giraffes conserve water very well, mainly because they don’t sweat or pant when hot.
- Giraffes often snort and hiss to communicate, but can also make very low sounds which are impossible for humans to hear.
- A giraffe’s heart weighs around 11kg, compared to a human heart which weighs between 0.2-0.45kg.
- Of all land mammals, the giraffe boasts the longest tail. Adult giraffes can have tails up to 8 feet long.
- A giraffe can move at only two speeds, walk and gallop.
- Even though a giraffe has a longer neck than all other mammals, it still only has seven vertebrae in its neck, which is the same amount as other animals and humans.
- Male giraffes and female giraffes eat from different parts of the same tree. This is to prevent competition between the males and females.
- Through the years, giraffes have been greatly loved and honored by humans. In ancient Egyptian art, they were often depicted as creatures of great power and strength.
- Giraffes actually come in four separate species. Previously, scientists thought that giraffes all belonged to one species, with many subspecies, but this assumption has been overturned. The four species of giraffes are the Southern Giraffe, the Northern Giraffe, the Maasai Giraffe, and the Reticulated Giraffe.
- The population of giraffes has declined 40% over the past 50 years. Sciencetists estimates show that about 80,000 giraffes remain in Africa.
- Giraffes have long necks that can be over six foot in length.
- Giraffes have 32 teeth, the same number as humans, however their teeth are located at the front of the bottom jaw, but only at the back of the top jaw.
- Females tend to give birth to a single calf around 400–460 days after mating.
- Giraffes originated from the savanna areas in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa
- Originating from a peninsula called the Horn of Africa, the Reticulated giraffe is the most common giraffe seen in zoos.
- The biggest subspecies of giraffe is the Masai giraffe. Found in Kenya and Tanzania, it has distinctive, jagged, irregular, star-like blotches that extend to their hooves
- A giraffe’s total sleeping time is spread throughout the day in quick naps. However, in captivity giraffes can snooze more than 4 hours a day.
- Baby giraffes or calves only breastfeed for the first 4-6 months. From the 7th month onwards, the calves begin to eat leaves. However, if the calves still can’t reach the leaves from the trees, their mothers will pull leaves off and feed them to them.
- Giraffes are the third heaviest animals in the world. On average, an adult giraffe approximately weighs 1,765 lbs. After the elephants and rhinos, giraffes are the 3rd heaviest animals in the world.
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