150 Interesting Facts About Giraffes


Giraffe

150 Interesting Facts About Giraffes

  • The giraffe’s scientific name is Giraffa Camelopardalis.
  • A newly born giraffe measures around 6 feet in height.
  • Step taken by the giraffe are about 15 feet in length.
  • The giraffe’s age can be found in its skin spots. The darker the spots, the older is the giraffe.
  • A baby giraffe is called a calf.
  • The kick of giraffe is so strong that it can also kill a lion.
  • Giraffes flick insects away with their tongues.
  • Giraffe gestation lasts 400 to 460 days.
  • Their feet are the size of a dinner plate.
  • Giraffe tongues are dark bluish in color.
  • Giraffes are found in the dry savannas of Africa.
  • Giraffes are herbivores, they only eat plants.
  • Giraffes only need to drink water once every few days.
  • Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up.
  • A female giraffe is called a cow.
  • A heart of the giraffe can weigh up to 24 pounds and be 2 ft. long.
  • A male giraffe is called a bull.
  • The calf can stand up and walk after an hour of giving birth.
  • No one has ever seen a giraffe swimming.
  • The giraffe’s biggest predators are lions and hyenas.
  • A group of a giraffes are called towers.
  • The giraffe’s closest relative is the okapi.
  • No two giraffes have the same spot pattern.
  • A giraffe can clean their ears with their tongue.
  • Giraffes live in herds of about 20.
  • Giraffes have long necks that can be over six feet in length.
  • Giraffes have 32 teeth.
  • Giraffe tongues are really long, reaching around 50–53 cm in length.
  • There is a hotel in Kenya, where you can hang out with giraffes all day.
  • The tallest giraffe ever recorded was a Masai bull named George.
  • The tallest giraffe ever recorded was a Masai bull named George.
  • Source: Media Source
  • Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth.
  • Giraffes can run as fast as 35 miles an hour.
  • Giraffes have outstanding eyesight, which supports them in keeping an eye on predators.
  • The oldest recorded wild giraffe in the world is known as ‘Chopper’.
  • A newborn calf weighs approximately 100 kg.
  • The blood pressure of giraffes is twice of humans.
  • It is considered that giraffes don’t make any sounds, but they bellow, snort, hiss and make flute-like sounds, as well as low pitch noises.
  • Their favorite grub is the acacia tree.
  • There are four species of the giraffes: Northern giraffe, Southern giraffe, Masai giraffe, and reticulated giraffe.
  • The neck of the giraffe is too short to reach the ground. They spread their front legs in order to drink water.
  • Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth. Their legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet.
  • They can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances, or cruise 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.
  • Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth standing up.
  • The giraffe calf can stand up and walk after about an hour and within a week, it starts to sample vegetation.
  • In what’s being called a “silent extinction,” Giraffe population numbers dropped from 155,000 in 1985 to 97,000 in 2015, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Habitat destruction is the leading reason Giraffes are endangered. Rapid expansion of human development and the effects of war continue to fracture the various subspecies’ home lands. 
  • Like most high-profile species of sub-saharan wildlife, Giraffes are also increasingly threatened by poaching. They’re a favorite kill among Big Game hunters, and some African communities target them for subsistence meat.
  • In the cultural practices of some central African countries, the Giraffe’s tail is used to ask a bride’s father permission for marriage. The long black hairs on the tail are also occasionally taken to make bracelets, fly whisks and threads.
  • As recently as 2010, Giraffes were considered “Least Concern” in terms of conservation consideration by the IUCN. But by 2016 the entire species has been classified as Vulnerable, and may no longer exist in their historic habitat in Angola, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Senegal. 
  • The neck is obviously the species’ most distinctive physical trait, measuring up to six feet long and weighing around 600 pounds. The length of the Giraffe neck gives the illusion of a complex anatomical structure underneath. But these towering creatures have only seven neck vertebrae (just like humans!), each of which is about 10 inches long and connected with ball-and-socket joints for flexibility. 
  • The Giraffe’s neck length requires huge, hot air balloon-like lungs, which are eight times the size of a human’s. However, they breathe at a much slower rate because of the “dead air” that gets caught in their long tracheas. So previous breaths are not fully released before the animal begins inhaling again.
  • Everything about the Giraffe is long, including its luscious eyelashes. This helps to keep dust out of their big eyes, which are the size of golf balls. They sit laterally on the Giraffe’s head, providing them with keen eyesight. They can’t see in full color, but they do see shades of red, orange, yellow-green, and violet.
  • Animals with hoofed feet, such as the Giraffe, are known as ungulates. Each foot has two even hooves. Each of an adult Giraffe’s feet are about 12 inches wide. These large hooves give them stability and prevent them from sinking into loose sand.
  • Sometimes known “stink bulls,” Giraffes carry a not-so-pleasant odor. Their fur releases natural repellents like indole and 3-methylindole (the same compounds found in feces) to ward off insects and parasites. Researchers believe this pungent odor tells potential mates that they’re free of parasites.
  • The Giraffe’s neck doesn’t quite reach the ground when the animal needs to drink, so they have to splay their legs and kneel a bit. The neck’s complex pressure-regulation system (the “rete miribale”) prevents excess blood flow to the brain. The Giraffe uses its lips suck water into the back of the mouth, where it’s held in the esophagus until the neck is lifted back up and the water can pass into the stomach.
  • Like camels, Giraffes don’t require much water, drinking only once every few days. This is a useful adaptation, as the African savannahs often experience dry seasons. Most of their hydration comes from the plants that they eat. When they do drink, they can quickly consume up to ten gallons at once.
  • Giraffes have a special four-chambered stomach, with a digestive system that classifies them as ruminants. Much like bovines (including Cows, Buffalo, and the Saola), Sheep, and various species of Antelopes, Giraffes chew their cud. Their main stomach compartment, the rumen, helps to break down the cellulose in plants and convert it into energy.
  • The Masai Giraffe can be found throughout East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. They are also the national animal of Tanzania, which boasts the largest overall Giraffe population of any African country.
  • Although Tanzania has recently increased its anti-poaching and conservation efforts to protect Masai Giraffes, their numbers have severely declined in recent years. The latest estimates put their population at around 35,000, a drop of nearly 50% over the last three decades. As a result, the subspecies was recently declared endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • If you’ve been to any local zoo, odds are you saw a Reticulated Giraffe. Although native to Somalia, this type of Giraffe is commonly found in captivity, with most wild populations in northern Kenya. They will interbreed with other subspecies in captivity, or if they become low in numbers in the wild.
  • Unlike horses and most other quadrupeds, giraffes walk by moving both legs on the same side of their body together. So, the left front and the left hind legs step and then the right front and the right hind legs step.
  • Although they're more likely to run from an attack than fight back, giraffes are not completely defenseless. A swift kick from one of their long legs can do serious damage to—or even kill—an unlucky lion.
  • Male giraffes will test a female's fertility by tasting her urine. Which is something now you can't un-know.
  • June 21, 2014 will be the first ever World Giraffe Day. 
  • 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. 
  • Some 1500 years later, Lorenzo de' Medici was gifted a giraffe by the sultan of Egypt. Giraffes had not been seen in Italy since antiquity and it caused quite the sensation, wandering the streets of Florence and accepting treats offered out of second-story windows.
  • Giraffes require over 75 pounds of food a day—and with a diet of leaves, this means they spend most of their time eating.
  • The giraffe's scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis, comes from the ancient Greeks' belief that it looked like a camel wearing a leopard's coat.
  • Despite their characteristic long necks, giraffes actually have the same number of neck vertebrae as humans—just seven. Each individual vertebra is super-sized, measuring up to ten inches long.
  • The subspecies’ appearance is distinguished by their wide, reddish, polygonal spots, which are outlined with bright white lines.
  • Unfortunately, Reticulated Giraffe habitat is facing destruction, causing them to disappear in the wild. Their current population is around 15,780 (less than half what it was 30 years ago), causing them to be added to the IUCN Red List of endangered species in 2018.
  • It’s easy to tell the Rothschild’s Giraffe from other subspecies. Their coat looks a bit like the Masai Giraffe, but with sandy skin and less jagged, caramel-colored patches that give them a more yellowish coloring. They also have no markings on the lower leg, and are the only Giraffes born with five ossicones, with smaller bumps in the center of its forehead and behind each ear.
  • Despite the females’ attempts to stand over their calves during attacks by lions, spotted hyenas, leopards and African wild dogs (4), many calves are killed in their first few months.
  • A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints. No two individual giraffes have exactly the same pattern.
  • Both male and female giraffes have two distinct, hair-covered horns called ossicones. Male giraffes use their horns to sometimes fight with other males.
  • Giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period! They often achieve that in quick naps that may last only a minute or two at a time.
  • Whilst it was thought that giraffes did not make any sounds, this is now known to be untrue, as giraffes bellow, snort, hiss and make flute-like sounds, as well as low pitch noises beyond the range of human hearing.
  • Over short distances, giraffes can run at speeds up to 35 mph.
  • Giraffes only need to drink water once every couple of days. They get most of their water from their plant-based diet—which is good considering their height makes the process of drinking difficult (and, if a lion happens upon a drinking giraffe, even dangerous).
  • Female giraffes often return to where they were born to give birth. Once there, their calves receive a rough welcome into the world, falling over five feet to the ground.
  • Fortunately, baby giraffes can stand up and even run within a hour of being born.
  • 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 usually stay upright while sleeping and if they do settle into a vulnerable position on the ground, it's just for a quick six-minute nap.
  • Giraffes have hair-covered horns called ossicones—but only males use them (for fighting each other).
  • Because of their unusual shape, giraffes have a highly-specialized cardiovascular system that starts with an enormous heart. It's two feet long and weighs up to 25 pounds.
  • Additionally, the jugular veins contain a series of one-way valves that prevent excess blood flow to the brain when the giraffe lowers its head to drink.
  • Male giraffes engage in a ritualized display of dominance called "necking" that involves head-butting each other's bodies.
  • Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is affectionately known as the "Baby Giraffe," so naturally, when a baby giraffe was born at the San Francisco Zoo, it was named Brandon Belt. When the two met, it was predictably adorable.
  • Though once believed to be a single species, four distinct Giraffe species are now recognized: the Southern Giraffe, Masai Giraffe, Reticulated Giraffe, and Northern Giraffe. They’re classified based on their color, patterns, and geographical regions they inhabit. There are also several subspecies, including the Angolan Giraffe, Nubian Giraffe, West African Giraffe, Rothschild Giraffe, and Kordofan Giraffe.
  • The earliest known giraffid, the Palaeotragus, lived approximately 20 million years ago. This prehistoric species was tall, but did not have as long a neck as Giraffes do now. Living in areas of barren soil led them to reach for leaves in the trees. After countless generations of stretching, they evolved genetically into the Giraffe we know today.
  • Female Giraffes are known as cows, while males are called bulls and baby Giraffes are calves. They’re classified as a species of the Artiodactyla order, along with about 220 other mammals. These animals (including Cows, Deer, Goats, and Hippos) are all herbivores and mostly live in grassland habitats. 
  • This weird animal only shares one close genetic relative, the Okapi. The black and white, Zebra-like legs of the Okapi can be deceiving. But a closer look at its head shows a striking resemblance to the Giraffe’s long ears and face.
  • Giraffes live together in herds with an average of 10 to 15 individuals. This helps them survive against predators, taking turns feeding while others look out for danger. Though they’re generally mild-mannered, an adult Giraffe can shatter a Lion’s skull with one powerful kick. 
  • Hungry carnivores are not the only threatening creatures the Giraffe has to fear. In fact, the most dangerous ones are no larger than a seed. Tiny ticks feast on the Giraffe’s blood, leaving them weak and tired. Nematodes and flatworms can also be ingested through water, causing infections and skin disorders. Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park has observed 79% of its Giraffe population showing signs of infection.
  • Surviving in the harsh African wilderness leaves little time for sweet slumbers. Giraffes are constantly on alert for danger, so they usually manage to function on just two hours of sleep a day. They normally sleep while standing, just like horses. They will occasionally lie down, folding their legs under their body but keeping their heads erect. 
  • The Giraffe is the tallest living mammal on Earth. Males grow to be about 18 feet tall. Females are slightly shorter than the males, but still reach a staggering height of 14 feet.
  • Giraffes have humongous hearts that weigh around 25 pounds, generating enough pressue to propel blood up through their long necks and into their brains. They also have special blood vessels that contain valves that help prevent the backtracking of blood from gravity. 
  • The two horns that stick out of the Giraffe head are not real horns, but ossicones– a form of thick cartilage covered in skin. Baby Giraffes are born with flat ossicones to avoid injury during birth, but they grow as they mature into adults. Males have thicker ossicones, which they use in mating-related battles.
  • Giraffes are fairly quiet beings: They do have a larynx (a.k.a. voice box), but rarely use it. If they become alarmed, a simple snort is often used to alert the herd of a possible threat. They’re also known to produce a mild humming sound during the night, perhaps to help locate other herd members in the dark.
  • Giraffes have also been spotted using their grapple-like tongue to pick their noses.
  • Male Giraffe necks are massive and powerful. To establish mating rights, bulls participate in a fighting ritual in which they swing their mighty necks like swords, delivering powerful blows by ramming their heads into each other’s bodies. Their heavy skulls are coated with calcium to shield their brains. Although it is very rare, there have been recorded deaths from these intense battles.
  • Mothers are extremely protective of their young. They will form “nursery groups” with other females from the herd, taking turns watching over the extremely vulnerable baby Giraffes. Sadly, only about 20% of all Giraffes live to reach adulthood.
  • Although they’re not considered adults until age four, male calves will leave their mothers at around 15 months old and join all-male bachelor groups. They’ll contest for dominance while still coexisting peacefully. Once they’re ready for mating, dominant male Giraffes will visit a female herd. 
  • Baby Giraffes are very dependent on their mothers for the first 4 to 6 months, relying on their milk for nutrients. After that, the mother will pull leaves off trees to feed to them until they’re tall enough to reach their own. An adult Giraffe will typically consume about 66 pounds of food per day.
  • Giraffes possess an 18-inch prehensile tongue that can grip objects, much like a Gorilla’s hands or an Elephant’s trunk. They use them to pluck leaves from acacia trees, maneuvering around the spiky thorns. The rough-textured surface of the Giraffe tongue, or papillae, keeps it protected. It’s believed that the tongue’s bluish purple coloration helps to keep it from getting burned by the sun.
  • Also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, the Masai or Maasai is the largest Giraffe subspecies, with males reaching a height of up to 19 feet. They can be identified by their jagged, star-shaped patches. Males have dark chocolate brown patches, while females wear a lighter dirt-brown shade. Unlike other Giraffe species, their patches flow all across their bodies and down their legs.
  • Rothschild’s Giraffe rank among the most endangered subspecies of Giraffes, with approximately 1,399 individuals remaining in the wild. Nairobi’s Giraffe Centre, run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, is a great place to see these endangered beauties up close. 
  • Female Giraffes mate with dominant males in hopes of passing on strong genes. They ovulate every two weeks, allowing for year-round Giraffe mating. Ovulating females release pheromones that attract males, who may sip her urine to confirm she’s ready to mate. The willing males will follow her to await her decision on who she wants to reproduce with.
  • Once successful Giraffe mating occurs, the the gestational period is approximately 15 months. The mother brings her a single baby into the world while standing up, causing the newborn to fall about six feet to the ground. The rough landing breaks the amniotic sac and umbilical cord, and encourages the baby Giraffe to start breathing.
  • Some Giraffes have been reported returning to the place where they were born to give birth.
  • Within an hour of birth, a baby Giraffe can get up and walk on its own. This is crucial so that it can quickly move with the herd in case a predator comes near. Even with its shaky, lanky legs, the newborn stands taller than most humans (about six feet) and weighs an average of 150 pounds.
  • Two completely white Reticulated Giraffes were spotted at Kenya’s Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in 2017. The unusual mother-daughter duo have a genetic condition called leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in the skin cells. Only three of these incredibly rare white-skinned Giraffes have been reported in sightings by the wildlife conservation program.
  • The Rothschild’s Giraffe is named after famous British zoologist Walter Rothschild, who is best known for the collection now housed at the Natural History Museum at Tring. 
  • The subspecies is also known as the Baringo Giraffe (after the Lake Baringo area of northern Kenya) or the Ugandan Giraffe. All animals remaining in the wild inhabit protected areas in these two regions. It was once believed that the Rothschild’s Giraffe and the Nubian Giraffe were completely different subspecies, but recent research has discovered that the two are genetically identical.
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