I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.
Here are my past posts in case you missed them:
Today we will discuss the giraffe…an amazing creature that has always pricked my interest…
Scientific name: Giraffa camelopardalis.
Giraffes live primarily in savanna areas in the sub-Saharan region of Africa.
Giraffes are the tallest mammals, their legs alone are about 6 feet. Their overall average size is 16 – 18 feet and they weigh as much as 3,000 pounds!
Even the giraffe’s tongue is long … 21-inches!!! Their tongues are bluish-purple, are tough and covered in bristly hair to help them eat the thorny Acacia trees.
Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. They eat about 100 pounds of leaves and twigs PER DAY! They also have FOUR stomachs!
When giraffes walk, they move both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side; this is unique to giraffes. However, they run in a similar style to other mammals, swinging their rear legs and front legs in unison. They can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances and can 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 deal with this very real drinking problem in a number of ways. Their digestive system can obtain almost all the water they need from the plants they eat, so the adults only need water once a day. Young giraffes, being the most vulnerable, are the most efficient at this, to the point where they often don’t need to drink water at all. The reason they’re able to do this is that giraffes are extremely economical creatures when it comes to liquids—they never sweat or pant to cool down, like most mammals. Instead, they allow their body temperature to fluctuate according to the temperature around them, enabling them both to conserve water and to keep cool in any situation. (Interesting fact: although a giraffe’s neck is about 5 feet in length, it contains the same number of vertebrae at a human neck.)
Female giraffes can become pregnant at 5 years old. They carry a baby for 15 months. Newborns are about 6 ft tall and weigh about 150 lb. Their young endure a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 5 feet to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth.
A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints, no two individual giraffes have exactly the same pattern. When you look underneath the coloring, the giraffe’s fur is even more impressive, if by “impressive” you mean “repulsive.” Because giraffes are pretty bad at grooming their bodies because of the length of their necks, they secrete chemicals from their skin and coat to repel insects and disinfect the skin so that fungi and bacteria cannot grow. Sadly, this chemical cocktail leaves their skin smelling fairly unpleasant to humans. Some older giraffes are so completely saturated with the smell that the local people call them “stink bulls.” It is said that you can smell them up to 800 ft away.
Both male and female giraffes have two distinct horns called ossicones. Males are bald, females have some hair on them.
Giraffes sleep less than two hours a day; they sleep with their feet tucked under them and their head resting on their hindquarters, but they can also sleep for short periods of time standing up.
Their average lifespan is 25 years.
Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter H and discuss the hedgehog.
Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!
Enjoy the journey!