Few animals are as distinctive and unique looking as the giraffe! These guys are known for their unusually long necks and towering height, but they are interested in other ways as well. For instance, did you know that they have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as we do? Or that their patterns are so unique, they’re kind of like fingerprints?
Here are some other facts you’ll want to know before your next visit to meet our very own giraffes!
Giraffe babies are huge!
Giraffe babies aren’t little, but they are cute! A calf, as they are called until they’re grown, can weigh up to 150 pounds and be 6 feet tall at birth. Giraffe mothers give birth standing up, so their calves fall to the ground when born, a drop of around 5 feet! While calves are quite large, their size comes in handy because even after their rough entry into the world, they can stand and walk around just an hour or so after being born!
Giraffes love groups
Did you know that a group of giraffes is called a tower? Giraffes are actually very social animals that live, rest, and raise their young together. This gives them protection and makes it easier for them to survive in the wild. Their social nature tends to extend to humans as well, which you’ll be able to see up close and personal at our park. This might also be why they are always one of the most popular animals among our visitors!
It might be surprising because of their size, but giraffes are actually vegetarians! These plant-powered giants eat up to 100 pounds of plants each and every day. This comes from foraging for all types of greenery, from leaves and twigs to berries and seeds. Their favorite type of leafy treats come from the acacia and mimosa trees, which they can easily reach due to their long necks. Eating greens gives them more than just their daily nutrition in the form of food, as it also acts as their main source of water.
“No thanks” to drinking
Giraffes actually don’t drink much water, getting most of their hydration through greens. This might be surprising, but it works out to their advantage. Due to their long necks, lowering their heads to drink water makes them more vulnerable to predators. By limiting their need to visit watering holes, they limit their risk in the wild! Fortunately, plants contain a lot of water, keeping them hydrated without having to visit the watering hole.
When you consider the length of their legs, you might not be too surprised to learn that giraffes are fast! Their powerful muscles and long strides can add up to an impressive speed of 35 miles per hour! While they can’t sustain that kind of speed for long periods, it is a great way for them to quickly get away from danger. In reality, though, their long legs mean that even a casual trot can seem fast!
One glance at a giraffe is all it takes to know that they are both beautiful and unique animals. From their calm and friendly personalities to their unique appearance, giraffes have certainly made a name for themselves. These gentle giants have earned their place as favorites among visitors, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy meeting them too!