How does it feel to be the tallest, yet so defenseless? Go, ask a giraffe! This leggy mammal that totally depends on its swiftness and “over-the-top” vision as a means for protection is indeed one of God’s most unique creations. Its eyes are more beautiful than that of a gazelle, its reddish-orange mottled hide lovelier than any abstract art-work. It’s hard to miss the towering influence of these fascinating ruminants that swan the grasslands of Africa. If you have seen a giraffe, then in all probability you wouldn’t have missed its towering figure, head grazing among treetops, spotted, speckled skin, and gentle face, which is indeed a remarkable sight. Being the tallest animal alive, giraffe has always fascinated the imagination of all. In spite of its height, there is nothing ungainly about the giraffe. Read on to find more evidence of what makes giraffe so fascinating and unique.
Scientific Name: Giraffa Camelopardalis
Male Name: Bull
Female Name: Cow
Range: Mostly south of Sahara and East Africa
Habitat: Dry savannas and open woodland
Size: (Height) – Males are about 5.5 m (17 ft) tall, whereas females are about 4.3 m (14 ft) tall
Feeding Habits: Herbivore
Life Span: About 25 years in the wild
Interesting And Amazing Facts On Giraffe
- Starting with the most famous, giraffes are the tallest terrestrial animals standing 5–6 m tall.
- The giraffe has nine subspecies, all of which are found in the wild only in Africa.
- In the wild, giraffes live up to 25 years.
- Despite the length of its neck, the giraffe has only seven cervical vertebrae, which is the same as in human beings.
- Giraffes have the highest recorded blood pressure (twice that of a human being). Its heart is a massive two feet in length.
- A giraffe’s heart beats about 170 times in a minute and in the process pumps out an astounding 16 gallons of blood every minute.
- The jugular vein in a giraffe has one-way valves that prevent the blood flowing backwards every time the giraffe bends down. This mechanism prevents the giraffes from fainting when it bends its head down and up.
- As much as the long neck is a convenience when grazing up in the treetops, a giraffe cannot touch the ground with its head when standing upright. It has to bend its front legs outwards to do this. In fact, that is exactly how giraffes drink water.
- The spots on giraffes are unique. There are no two giraffes with the same pattern.
- Giraffes only sleep for 30 minutes in a day, which is interspersed into naps as short as 5 minutes.
- Giraffes are herbivores, which mostly feed on the upper branches of trees. Its staple diet is the acacia leaves.
- In addition to its neck, the giraffe also has a long tongue, which is about 20 inches.
- The giraffe’s tongue along with its thick lips protects it from the thorns of acacia. The tongue is also coated in antiseptic saliva.
- The giraffe requires up to 30 kg of food per day.
- Each step of a giraffe is as long as 15 feet.
- At top speed, giraffes can reach speeds up to 55kmph.
- The giraffe is also the largest of ruminants. Like cow, they chew the cud.
- Giraffe calves are born with their mother standing during the delivery. This means that they fall headfirst from a height of 6 feet.
- In a herd, a female stays behind to take care of all the calves while the rest go for grazing.
- Giraffes have excellent eyesight. This helps them not only keep an eye on their calves, but also on predators.
- Adult giraffes are rarely vulnerable to predators, but calves are frequently taken away by the predators.
- Packs of lions and hyenas sometimes bring down an adult giraffe when other preys are unavailable.
- An adult giraffe is powerful enough to kill a lion with a kick of its hind legs.
- Giraffes are very silent animals though they are by no means mute. They make sounds that are similar to those emitted by cows and goats.