- The neck veins contain valves and a network of tiny veins (rete mirabile)
to prevent blackouts when it lowers its head to drink. They act temporarily
as collecting vessels which compensate for the pressure in the brain.
- The giraffe's heart can weigh more than 24 pounds.
- The heart pumps approximately 16 gallons per minute.
- The giraffe has twice as many blood corpuscles than we do.
- A corpuscle is a blood cell
- Giraffes reach a deep sleep for 1-12 minutes.
- In deep sleep the neck is bent backward like a handle, the chin touches
the ground behind the tarsal joint of the stretched hind leg, and the
lower jaw rests on the shank.
- Usually giraffe rest standing up, flicking their ears and keeping
one eye open alternately to keep alert. They have got to be ready to
- Giraffe can see miles away, communicating with distant friends.
- When catching a giraffe, for a zoo exhibit or observation, care has
to be taken to not chase them too long, because they will have a heart
attack, due to their high blood pressure. So the scientists go after
the younger, sprightlier giraffes most of the time. Then a blindfold
is placed over their eyes, so they are not terrified even more.
- Unknown nomadic males may stimulate serious fighting by exchanging
sledgehammer blows using the side of the head.
Rank order fights between two individuals may last for a quarter of
an hour or even longer (15 minutes).
- Giraffe males generally live peacefully beside each other after they
have determined who is the strongest.
- Giraffe's tongues are like hands (prehensile), about 24 inches long,
mating season, the male giraffe nudges the female's behind to induce
urination. He then tastes the urine to see if the female is in heat.
The baby giraffes are, on average, 6 feet tall
when born, weighing 110-120 pounds.
Offspring begin browsing in their first month and are rarely observed
to suckle after they start eating leaves.
- First year calf mortality is about 58%.
- Calves may be taken by hyena, leopards and African wild dogs. But
the lion is the main predator.
- Life expectancy is 20-25 years.
- Reticulated Giraffes are characterized by large polygons separated
by cream-colored lines rather like a large net thrown over a colored
ground, hence the name "reticulated" giraffe. (reticulated
means 'like a net')
- The word "giraffe" comes from an Arabic word, "zirafah",
which means "the tallest of all".
Oxpeckers or tick birds will land on a giraffe and search for ticks
or insect pests to eat. This helps both the giraffe and the bird.
- In Africa you can still find giraffe meat on some menus.
- Giraffes drink water if it is available but can go weeks without it.
Otherwise they rely on the morning dew and the water content of their
food. At the water hole, up to 12 gallons may be taken in at once.
From the book
Blondes - a book about giraffes" by Lynn
- They are the tallest quadrupeds, reaching eighteen feet or more for
males, a dainty sixteen feet for females. And while the bulls (males)
can weigh 1.5 tons, the cows (females) are a trim .5 ton. The record
for a giraffe shot by a hunter was a nine-teen-foot-three-inch bull
- Their sturdy front legs appear much longer than the rear pair, because
their backbone angles down toward the rump. In fact, all four legs are
almost the same size, and each lands in a cloven hoof the size of a
- One species of the acacia owes its name to the giraffe, and some seeds
germinate only after passing through the giraffe's digestive track.
- Their only natural enemies are the lion and, on occasion, the hyena
and the leopard. Humans - who have killed them in the name of sport,
or science, or capitalism (the giraffe's tail has been used as a flyswatter,
its hide for buckets or shields) - are now forbidden by law to hunt
them in the wild.
- They are one of the only animals born with horns, which can number
up to five and get bonier with age. A short, stiff mane runs the length
of their neck.
- Giraffes are not mute. They have vocal chords but rarely use them.
They don't need to. Their monumental size lets them see and communicate
readily with their eyes.
- They have no tear ducts but have been seen to cry.
- They have never been seen to bathe.
- A special joint enables the giraffe to raise its head vertically in
line with the neck and even a bit farther back, a special feature that
makes those out-of-the-way leaves easier to nibble.
Still, for all its span, the giraffe's neck is too short to reach the
ground. As a result, the animal has to spread its legs precariously
or kneel down on padded "knees" (which are really wrists)
to take a drink
- For the amble, or slow pace, giraffes move both right legs at once,
then both left.
- Child care can be cooperative, in nurseries formed by groups of cows.
- Giraffes mature by their fourth year.
- They can live to be almost thirty years
- People who work with them disagree on how smart the giraffe really
is, but one expert noted that "an analysis of its brain formation
shows the highest development of nervous center among artiodactyls [cloven-hoofed
animals]: the index of its cerebrum is 29.5 compared with 20 in wild
cattle and 14 in pigs."