I recently learned some interesting facts about giraffes that were actually pretty cool. I have a giraffe stuffed animal named Sheldon Claude and all my friends love him like he is their own. He’s the cutest giraffe out there, in my completely biased opinion. One of my friends, who loves to spend time with Sheldon, started talking about facts about giraffes and I couldn’t help but gain so much appreciation for this incredible animal.
1 Baby Giraffes
A fun fact about giraffes takes place immediately after birth. Mothers not only give birth standing up but their babies can stand within 10 minutes of coming out of the womb. I find that incredible because it takes humans about a year to master this skill. What’s more, after only 10 hours of being born, baby giraffes can already run alongside their families. Talk about early learners!
I don’t often associate running with giraffes but don’t put it past them. Giraffes can run short distances at 35 miles per hour and long distances at a steady 10 miles per hour. Their speed for shorter distances helps them escape predators and find safety. Giraffes need to be careful though because if they maintain a faster speed for an extended period of time, they can drop dead of a heart-attack.
It’s no surprise that giraffes are the tallest animals on the earth, but how big is big? Giraffes are between 15 and 18 feet tall, depending on gender. Their tongues are a whopping 18 inches to 2 feet long. Their neck is 7 feet long and only contains 7 vertebrae. That’s amazing!
Giraffes are known for their long necks but actually their necks aren’t long enough to reach the ground from the standing position. This makes drinking water difficult. When they try to drink it from a watering hole, they need to spread their legs wide and get as close to the ground as they can. It’s pretty funny to see. Most of the water giraffes absorb comes from the food they eat, allowing them to visit the watering hole once every couple of days.
Just like our fingerprints are all unique, a giraffe’s spots are all his own. Different subspecies of giraffes have similar elements such as a darker pigmentation in Masai giraffes than the lighter Angolan giraffes. The width between spots and the color of the spots both make the coat unique. Their spots help giraffes blend into their habitats, typically in African savannas. The next time you look at a giraffe whether on an African safari or at the zoo, try to see if you can tell the difference between the giraffes’ spots.
Giraffes do not usually lie down because of its vulnerability but rather, sleep standing up. If a giraffe does curl up to go to sleep, they lie down with their legs folded under them and rest their head on their rump. They typically rest for small “cat-naps” at a time to ensure no predator can sneak up on them while they are sleeping. These micro-naps are typically 10 minutes long and can occur for up to an average of two hours per day. Giraffes do not need long periods of sleep and can go without it for longer than every other animal on the planet.
What is the life-span of a giraffe? It depends. Giraffes in the wild live for an average of 10-15 years whereas giraffes in zoos live for around 25 years. What’s more, females reach their full size at age 5 and males at age 8.
I hope you learned something new and interesting about giraffes. Every time I look at Sheldon, I can’t help but think about these fun facts about giraffes. It amazes me. What are some other interesting facts about giraffes? What was the most informative thing you learned?