Giraffes are super amazing animals, with their long legs and necks, they definitely hardly ever have problems getting things of high shelves or leaves off treetops. However, there are a number of facts that not too many people know about these beautiful creatures, so from stories found in history books to facts obtained from nature, here are 11 amazing facts about the giraffe.
1. Last species standing
The giraffe, which is a genus of the African even toed ungulate mammals, is the tallest living terrestrial animal that is also a ruminant, however, today its species is the only surviving member of the genus, the other seven are extinct.
2. Tall animal; Short neck
Everyone knows that giraffes are the tallest land animals on the planet, however, do you know they have the shortest necks? Well, the giraffe has an improper body fraction, as while its legs are ridiculously long, its neck is quite short and cannot meet up with certain needs, thus when a giraffe needs to pick something from the ground or even take a drink of water, it would need to awkwardly bend its legs, however when they are really comfortable and are sure of an absence of predators, they would go down on all fours for a drink.
Fun Fact: Apparently, giraffes are only tall when it comes to standing straight as some argue that pythons are the tallest because when you spread them both out the python would be longer, although personally, I really do not see how this should be an argument.
3. Distant cousin of the Camel?
The giraffe’s scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis, has its roots in the ancient Greek belief that it resembled a camel wearing a leopard’s coat. In recent times, it has also been said that it has camel – like attributes. Like a camel, it has perfected ways of keeping its body hydrated as it drinks water only four times a day and the rest of the time it gets its water from the trees and the tree leaves. It is argued that giraffes drink the morning dew, and others say they only take the moisture from the leaves of the plants – why can’t we just say they do both?
4. Standing Always.
Giraffes stand to do everything – from walking, to sleeping, procreating and even childbirth. Although they take breaks from standing, this only happens once in a very long while.
5. Fast and Relentless Runners.
The giraffe hardly ever runs, but when it does it has been known to reach up to 10m/hr. when it is simply cruising along, and when it is a matter of life and death, they have been known to reach 35m/hr., although the latter is done in short bursts.
6. Long Tongues
The necks of Giraffes are not the only long things in their anatomy, their tongues are known to reach lengths of 20inches, and these are believed to be used to protect themselves from the constant exposure to sunlight, their tongues are dark colored and you can find a camel licking up its face on a hot summer day
7. Big hearts
No we do not refer to their kindness – although we believe they are really kind – we refer to their actual heart, which is two feet long and weighs up to 25 pounds, Giraffes have a highly specialized cardiovascular system which starts with their enormous heart, they have jugular veins which contain a series of one way valves that prevent excess blood flow to the brain when it squats for a drink.
8. An arrival to Europe
Giraffe’s are originally from Africa and when they came to Europe they were quite the sensation, the first giraffe to make its way to Europe was brought by Julius Caesar from Alexandria in 46 B.C. as part of his triumphant return to Rome after many years of civil war. About 1500 years after Julius Caesar brought the first Giraffe on its European excursion, the Sultan of Egypt gifted Lorenzo de’ Medici with a giraffe. Giraffes had were quite the novelty in Italy as they had not been seen since antiquity and it caused quite the sensation as it wandered the streets of Florence, accepting treats offered out of second-story windows.
9. Horned attributes
Giraffes – of both genders – have ‘horns’ already at birth. These are called ossicones and they lie flat and remain unattached to the skull to avoid injury at birth, only fusing with the skull later in life. And these ossicones are only used by the males for fighting each other.
A giraffe’s gestation period is 457 days, and this is about 15 months, after which only a single baby is usually born. Female giraffes often return to where they were born to give birth – this is really sweet- and they also give birth while standing, thus it is safe to say that the young get a first-hand understanding of ‘it’s a hard knock life’ as they fall about 2m to the ground but these babies can stand up and even run only within an hour of birth – already real time hustlers! Sadly though about 50% of all giraffe calves do not survive their first year.
11. Feeding and getting a mate!
Giraffes require more than 75 pounds of food daily, thankfully with diet made up of leaves which can be gotten from treetops, they spend majority of the—and with a diet of leaves, this means they spend most of their time eating. Male giraffes are known to engage in a ritualized display of dominance called “necking” and this involves head-butting each other’s bodies. Male giraffes do a lot of weird stuff you know, well, to test if a female is fertile, they test her urine.
Well, there you have it – 11 awesome facts about giraffes that you most likely did not know. If you love giraffes just as much as we do, then make sure you share this article to others and do not hesitate to visit our site another time!