One of the most amazing animals in the world is the giraffe. These animals are found in Savannas in the sub-Saharan parts of Africa. These animals are the tallest in the world. Their legs measure up to 6 feet, which is about the height of a grown human being.
Although these animals are tall, they’re timid and usually avoid any human contact. They roam in grasslands and often travel in small herds. Even if they avoid human contact, male giraffes called bulls, often battle other bulls. These animals do these by butting their heads or swinging their necks. These battles are harmless and end when a giraffe walks away from an opponent.
Sadly, these animals’ populations are dwindling in nature. As of 2018, just 68,000 mature individuals are roaming the wilderness. Poachers often hunt giraffes because some body parts are used in traditional belief medicines that promise to cure diseases such as AIDS.
Poachers hunt giraffes for their hides, horns, bone marrow, and their meat. Their tails are even considered status symbols and often fetch a high price in the black market. If this trend continues, we sadly may see giraffes succumb to extinction. Thankfully, there are conservation methods that are being implemented.
For one, areas, where giraffes live, are often considered nature reserves where every hunting activity is illegal. Traditional African warriors from different tribes, also act as nature reserve guards that seek to capture poachers. With that said, here are some more facts about giraffes that you should know about:
One of the strangest giraffe facts that you’ll read about is their sleeping behavior. Believe it or not, giraffes in the wild only sleep 30 minutes a day. These animals learn to sleep at such short times to avoid predators.
Although these gentle giants only sleep for 30 minutes, their sleeping time is usually split into several naps throughout the day. Giraffes born and bred in captivity sleep longer, with some dozing off for 4 hours or more.
It was once believed that giraffes were the offspring of a leopard and a camel. It was in the early 46 BC when the Romans and Julius Caesar were presented with a giraffe as a gift. People immediately thought that the animal was strange. Because of that, giraffes were given the scientific name “Giraffa camelopardalis.”
When it comes to size, giraffes are the tallest animals in the whole world. From toe to snout, their height can reach up to 19 feet. A person who measures in at 6 feet, is just as tall as the giraffe’s legs. Giraffes are also heavy. Most species weigh in between 1,700 to 2,800 pounds.
Due to their size, a group of giraffes traveling together is called a “Tower.” The name is only fitting as these animals have the longest necks and overall height in the animal kingdom. A tower can typically contain 10-20 giraffes. Giraffes aren’t territorial, and they can roam freely. Tower members aren’t also socially dependent on each other, which is why giraffes can come and go with their tower.
Giraffes Are Also Dangerous
Don’t let their gentle nature fool you; giraffes can just be as deadly as a lion or a rhino. A kick from a giraffe’s hind leg can instantly kill a predator that’s foolish enough to trail behind it. Giraffe males or bulls are also aggressive when it’s their mating season. Giraffes can hit other giraffes with their necks and can use their horns, similar to those of deers and their antlers.
Due to their size, a giraffe has to consume more than 35 kilograms of food every day. Giraffes are herbivores, which means that their diet exclusively consists of leaves and plant matter. Their long necks come in handy because their favorite food often comes from tall acacia trees. Occasionally, giraffes will also eat flowers, flowers, shrubs, vines, and buds if available.
Acacia trees contain a lot of thorns, but giraffes can eat their leaves without a problem. It is said that acacia trees developed thorns on their branches to fend off hungry animals such as giraffes. Giraffes, on the other hand, developed a thick leathery tongue making easy work on the thorny trees.
Speaking of diet, a calf or a newborn giraffe only drinks milk for the first 4 to 6 months. On their 7th month, a young giraffe starts to eat on soft branches, leaves, and fruits. Due to their young age, a calf still can’t reach a fully grown tree to feed. Parents often bend the branches for their young to feed.
A Heavy Heart
Compared to a human heart that weighs 230 to 280 grams, a giraffe’s heart weighs in at a staggering 25 pounds or 11 kilograms. Giraffes also have the strongest hearts, able to pump 60 liters of blood every minute.
Seeing a giraffe roam freely on the savanna is one of the best things you can see in life. Sadly, these animals are currently endangered due to poaching. The facts mentioned above are just some reasons why these animals are amazing and should put awareness for people to help conserve these magnificent creatures.