11 Interesting Facts about Giraffes

If you don’t know which animal is the tallest one, we’ll tell you: the giraffe. But that’s not all there is to this mammal. Discover other interesting facts about it by reading our post.

Let’s begin with the following information:

  1. The animal kingdom is filled with many tall land animals. A giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), however, is the tallest of them all. Its hight is mainly given by its legs. They are very long: approximately 6 feet (or 1.8 meters). A giraffe’s neck is also long. The benefit of having such long legs? If it wasn’t for them, this animal wouldn’t be able to run very fast at both long and short distances. As such, a giraffe can run 10 miles/hour (16 kilometers/hour) over a long distance; a shorter distance is covered in 35 miles/hour (56 kilometers/hour);
  2. The tongue of a giraffe is also longer than any other animal’s: 21 inches (that’s 53 centimeters). It can reach the highest branches of a tree when the giraffe wants to eat. The tongue is known as a “prehensile tongue”;giraffe-male
  3. Giraffes are like zebras, jaguars and other mammals. How so? Their coats are covered in spots which don’t share the same pattern. Because of their physical appearance, these mammals got this Latin name when they were first discovered: Giraffa Camelopardalis;
  4. A giraffe’s head has ossicones (or knobs) on its top. Both females and males have them; the latter’s knobs are bald, while the female’s ossicones have a small cluster of fur and they’re of a smaller size. Males’ knobs have their purpose, which we’ll discuss later;
  5. A giraffe’s habitat is the sub-Saharan part of this continent: Africa. They enjoy roaming the savannas there;
  6. These majestic animals eat the entire day (almost). Their diet is primarily made of twigs and leaves. Acacia trees are their favorites. An adult giraffe eats more than 100 lb (45 kg) of leaves daily. After they eat, giraffes regurgitate their meal; next, they chew it with their 32 teeth. If their meal has thorns, a giraffe’s upper lip protects it against them;
  7. Drinking water happens once every couple of days. To do that, the giraffe has to get into an awkward and vulnerable position because of its height. The legs are spread first; then, its head is bent down. Predators take advantage of this situation, so the giraffe has to be very careful when she drinks water;
  8. A giraffe doesn’t share the same walking habits as other mammals. Instead, it does this: moves both legs on one side of its body, then the rest of the legs on the other side at the same time;
  9. Giraffes are social creatures, which is why they walk in groups. The latter contain 6 individuals;
  10. A giraffe’s gestation period is 15 months. When it gives birth (this happens when she’s 5 years old), its baby falls to the ground from this height: over 5 feet (1.5 meters). As such, giraffes welcome their offspring by standing up. 30 minutes after coming into the world, the young giraffe is able to stand upright. 10 hours later, it can even join its mom for a run;
  11. In case males get into a fight, something called “necking” will happen. For a giraffe, this means swinging its neck at the opponent. The ossicone will come in handy during these altercations; in fact these adaptations protect the males from serious brain damage.


    Giraffe skeleton

Ready for some fun and interesting giraffe facts? Here you go:

  • you can pet a giraffe without fear of being bitten (their teeth aren’t located at the front of their mouths);
  • giraffes live approximately 25 years in the wild;
  • they don’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time (some can even sleep for only 10 minutes);
  • when a giraffe sleeps, its feet are wrapped under it and the head rests on its rear;
  • giraffes are also known to sleep standing up;
  • a male giraffe is called a “bull”;
  • a giraffe’s height provides an excellent means of lookout when enemies are close by;
  • giraffes contributed to the creation of lower body negative pressure process by NASA (made in order to keep astronauts’ leg veins in shape during missions);
  • adult giraffes can seriously harm lions and other big predators with their legs;
  • you will never see a giraffe sweating (they’re able to cool themselves down and also preserve water);
  • a giraffe’s tongue doesn’t suffer from sunburn (that’s because of its bluish-black color);
  • giraffes are adored in traditional African cultures (the most popular forms of adoration are the Giraffe Dance and the Giraffe Song);
  • 1826 is when the first giraffe arrived in France (its name was Zarafa, Arabic for “the lovely one”);
  • in ancient Egypt, giraffes were kept as pets, then offered to foreign leaders as presents;
  • a giraffe’s skin gives off a particularly ugly smell;
  • a young giraffe spends time with other offspring in a nursery group;
  • Giraffe Camelopardalis is translated as “One who walks quickly, a camel marked like a leopard”;
  • for New Age followers, giraffes are viewed as symbols for both flexibility and intuition;
  • a giraffe’s age is indicated by its spots (if they’re very light, the animal is young/if they’re very dark, the giraffe is old);
  • another interesting fact: a giraffe has 4 stomachs.

Do you like giraffes more after reading our article? Feel free to tell us in the comment section.

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