A Gentle Giant, the Giraffe – Celebrating World Giraffe Day

Here are some interesting facts which you may not have known about a Giraffe:

  • There are four distinct species of giraffe in Africa: Northern Giraffe, Southern Giraffe, Reticulated Giraffe, and Masai Giraffe. The Southern Giraffe species can be found in the Timbavati and Greater Kruger areas.
  • Giraffes are already extinct in at least seven countries in Africa.
  • Just like human fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same coat pattern.
  • Giraffe feet are the size of a dinner plate with a diameter of 30 cm.
  • Giraffe tongues are bluish-purple and between 45 and 50 cm long.
  • Both male and female giraffe have horns already at birth. These ossicones lie flat and are not attached to the skull to avoid discomfort and injury at birth. They only fuse with the skull later in life.
Photo by Harvey Sapir from Pexels
Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels
  • The giraffe is the tallest mammal in the world. Even newborn giraffes are taller than most humans.
  • Female giraffe gives birth standing up. Their young fall about 2 m to the ground and can stand up within an hour of birth.
  • In some populations, over 50% of all giraffe calves do not survive their first year.
  • A giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. To drink, giraffes first have to splay their forelegs and/or bend their knees, and only then can they lower their necks to reach the surface of the water.
  • A complex network of blood vessels at the base of the skull assists the giraffe to slow down the blood being pumped to the head when bending down to drink water. Without this complex network, the giraffe would not be able to drink. By flicking their heads back up after drinking it reopens the valves to allow for normal blood flow to continue.
  • NASA has looked into the blood vessel system in a giraffe's legs to get inspiration for human spacesuits!
  • A giraffe heart weighs approximately 11 kilograms and is the biggest of any land mammal. It is used to pump 60 litres of blood around its body every minute at a blood pressure twice that of an average human.

When you next visit the Timbavati, remember to appreciate these gentle giant giraffes as they are more than just a pretty face.

Interesting facts found and sourced through https://giraffeconservation.org/facts/13-fascinating-giraffe-facts/