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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Giraffe

GIRAFFE ANATOMY

The Giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal. Fully grown giraffes stand 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall, with males taller than and weighing nearly twice as much females.

Giraffes are about 6 feet tall when born.

Giraffes are the only animals born with horns. Both males and females are born with bony protrusions on the forehead.

A male giraffe can weigh as much as a pickup truck! That is about 1,400 kilograms.

A giraffe's legs alone are taller than most humans: They are about 6 feet.


Although a giraffe's neck is 6 feet long (1.8 meters), it contains just 7 bones the same number as a human neck.

A giraffe's neck is too short to reach the ground—it has to spread its front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water.

Gemina (July 16, 1986 – January 9, 2008) was a 12-foot-tall Baringo giraffe who lived in the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. When she was three years old her neck vertebrae began to jut out from her neck. Gemina's crooked neck was an inspiration to disabled children and was featured in an episode of a reality show about a girl with scoliosis. Despite her mysterious deformity she lived longer than the average giraffe by about six years.

Gemina the giraffe (left), with a normal giraffe shown for comparison

The giraffe's heart is huge; it weighs twenty-five pounds, is two feet long, and has walls up to three inches thick.

Because the giraffe had such a long neck, ten to twelve feet, its heart needs tremendous force to pump blood through the carotid artery to the brain.

The giraffe's blood pressure is two or three times that of a healthy man and may be the highest of any animal in the world.

Their heart beats up to 170 times per minute - double that of humans.

Giraffe tongues are dark blue and average around 20 inches in length.

The giraffe has no vocal cords and communicates by vibrating the air around its neck.


Giraffes only have bottom teeth.

The giraffe's name refers to its camel-like face and the patches of color on its fur, which bear a vague resemblance to a leopard's spots.

There are nine subspecies, which are distinguished by their coat patterns

GIRAFFE BEHAVIOR

The baby of a giraffe falls from a height of about six feet when it is born, and mostly doesn't even get hurt!

Baby giraffes can stand within half an hour of birth. After 10 hours it can run alongside its family.

Giraffes spend about 80 percent of their day eating.

The giraffe's primary food source is acacia leaves, which they can browse at heights that most other herbivores cannot reach.

The length of their tongues allows them to browse for very highest, juiciest leaves on their favorite acacia trees.

A giraffe can clean its ears with its 20-inch tongue.

The male giraffe determines a female's fertility by tasting her urine. If it passes the test, the courtship continues.

The giraffe's scattered range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east

A giraffe’s habitat is usually found in the African savannas, grasslands or open woodlands.

About 50% of all giraffe calves do not survive their first year due to predation from hyenas, leopards and wild dogs.

HISTORY

The ancient Greeks and Romans had thought a giraffe was a cross between a camel and a leopard because of its camel-like shape and its leopard-like coloring.

The modern English form developed around 1600 from the French 'girafe.' Before 1600 the word for a giraffe in English was a “camelopard” or “cameleopard”.

The first giraffe in Britain was a young female given as a present by the viceroy of Egypt to George IV  in 1827, which lived briefly at Windsor.

Four giraffes arrived at London Zoo on May 24, 1836. They were the first ever seen in Britain apart from the giraffe presented to George IV. The names of the male giraffes were Mabrouck, Selim and Guib-Allah. The female was called Zaida.

The giraffes were temporarily kept in the Elephant House and were moved to the Giraffe House just under a month later.


Between 1985 and 2015 the number of giraffes in the world has declined from 155,000 to 97,000.

FUN GIRAFFE FACTS

Both Dortmund, Germany, and Gilbert, Arizona, are homes to giraffe museums.

Giraffes can’t swim.

A giraffe can kill a lion with one swift kick.

Giraffes can last longer without water than camels.

In Mozambique, power lines have to be at least 12 m (39 ft) high to permit safe passage of giraffes beneath the lines.

Source Daily Express

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