Friday, June 29, 2012

Facts about Giraffe



There are nine recognized subspecies of giraffe. They are: the Nigerian giraffe, the Nubian giraffe, Baringo giraffe, Masai giraffe, reticulated giraffe, Thorneycroft's giraffe, Kordofanian giraffe, Angolan giraffe, and the Southern giraffe. They live in scattered geographic regions in Africa, and have differing color patterns.
Facts:
  1. A giraffe is able to clean its ears with its own tongue.
  2. Giraffes live for 10-15 years in the wild, but average 25 years at zoos.
  3. Other animals on the savannah use giraffes as watchtowers or observation posts for predators.
  4. An adult giraffe's heart is 2 feet long and weighs about 20 pounds.
  5. Giraffe's tongue is almost 2 feet long.
  6. Male giraffes weigh 3,000-4,000 lbs. and can reach 20 feet height; female giraffes weigh 1,500-2,500 lbs. and are about 14 feet tall; baby giraffes are 6 feet tall.
  7. Giraffes' life span is 20-28 years.
  8. Giraffes spread their front legs in order to reach the water on ground level to drink—their tall necks are shorter than their legs.
  9. Giraffes use their markings to camouflage themselves among trees. Like human fingerprints, each giraffe marking is like no other one.
  10. Giraffes' mouth has a hard inner surface making it easy to eat thorny plants.
  11. Giraffes cannot cough.
  12. Giraffe has such a long tongue that it can lick almost any part of its face.
  13. The tongue and lips are tough and virtually impervious to thorns, which allow them to eat many foods that other animals can't. Likewise, the hide is so thick that it was formerly used to cover shields. Even their coat, which has a peculiar smell, provides these creatures with an unusual amount of protection — scientific analysis has shown it's full of antibiotic secretions and parasite repellents.
  14. The giraffe is the largest ruminant and the tallest terrestrial animal (really the tallest animal period, since marine animals are normally measured in terms of length instead of height).
  15. How tall is a giraffe? An average male giraffe's height is 5.3 meters (17.4 feet), an average female's, 4.3 meters (14.1 feet). A giraffe's neck weighs about 270 kilograms (600 pounds) and is about 1.8 meters (6 feet) long, and its legs are as long as its neck.
  16. One of the other interesting facts about giraffes is that they have the same number of bones in their necks as do most other mammals (seven). But these cervical vertebrae are far longer than those of other animals
  17. Though a giraffe's heart is huge — it's 0.6 meters (2 feet) long and weighs about 11 kilograms (25 pounds) — the great height of a giraffe still makes it hard for the heart to pump blood to the brain. This problem is overcome by a series of one-way valves that force blood toward the head.
  18. Giraffes are also able to put plenty of oxygen into their blood because they have tremendous lungs — they can hold 55 liters (12 gallons) of air.
  19. The fact that a giraffe has perhaps the keenest vision of any African big game animal gives it, together with its height, the greatest range of vision of any terrestrial creature.
  20. Like a camel, a giraffe can stock up on water and then go without drinking for long periods of time. They can also run for long distances, as fast — or even faster — than a horse.
  21. One of the most surprising giraffe facts is that they sleep far less than most other mammals, typically less than two hours a day (on average, 1.9 hours).
  22. Most giraffes have two to four horns, but some have five, the fifth, sometimes just a knob, being located in the centre of the forehead.
  23. A final interesting fact about giraffes is that there are a variety of very distinct types, which were formerly treated as different species. These were all lumped when it was discovered that they hybridize in the wild
  24. It's difficult to catch a giraffe while its sleeping, simply because he gets so little of it! Ever vigilant for predators, giraffes just sleep for a few minutes at a time, and usually only get about 30 minutes total in a single day.
  25. The tallest mammal in the world is the giraffe.
  26. In the savannah region south of the Sahara in Africa, the giraffe feeds primarily on acacia leaves.
  27. Giraffes can eat up to 77 pounds (35 kilograms) of food every day. They do not eat meat, but prefer the leaves and tender shoots of trees and shrubs. Their favorite meal, the leaves and twigs of the thorny acacia tree, have all the nutrients a growing giraffe needs, except for calcium and salt. The leaves also contain a lot of water, making water holes much less of a necessity. With that kind of motivation, it's no wonder they like the acacia so much!
  28. The average giraffe's blood pressure is two or three times that of a healthy man.
  29. The giraffe can drink 12 gallons in one setting
  30. A giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can. Giraffes can go for days without water, which actually protects them from some of the dangers that more water dependent animals have. This is because predators, such as lions, frequent water holes, knowing that their prey must come to drink. By avoiding those places as much as possible, giraffes improve their chances for survival. Also, to get a drink, a giraffe must awkwardly splay out its front legs to reach the water, making it difficult to not only see its enemy, but also to get a good start running. And a giraffe must look out for those crocodiles... the ones that lunge out from the water and pull your carcass under. Besides the lion, crocodiles are natural enemies of giraffes.
  31. In Atlanta, Georgia, it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp.
  32. New-born giraffe calves begin their lives by falling 6 feet to the ground
  33. Giraffes belong to the family Giraffidae, which has only one other species, the okapi.
  34. Giraffes live in both open savannah areas and wooded grasslands.
  35. A baby giraffe is about six feet tall at birth.
  36. Giraffes have one of the highest blood pressures of all animals, due to their height and the large size of their heart.
  37. Ever see a fainting giraffe? If a giraffe's neck didn't contain pumping ventricles in its neck as well as its heart, then the animal would black out every time it raised its head to eat. A giraffe's heart is very big and very busy, pumping up to 20 gallons (75 litters) of blood every minute, and weighing up to 25 pounds (11 kilograms).
  38. A giraffe has just 2 gaits, walking and galloping.
  39. Just like humans, giraffes have seven vertebrae in their necks. Unlike humans, however, each vertebra is about 5 inches (11 centimetres) long. The neck of an adult giraffe is about six feet long (1.8 meters), and is extremely muscular.
  40. Thinking that its parents were a camel and a leopard, the Europeans once called the animal a "camelopard."
  41. Giraffes are the tallest land mammals in the world. With all that height, comes the advantage of being able to see predators from great distances-- especially out on the open grasslands. But vigilance is just one of a giraffe's defence mechanisms. When attacked, a giraffe will use its large powerful hooves, and kick at its enemy. And a kick from a giraffe is no laughing matter. They have been known to sever lions' heads.
  42. Seeing spots? Did you know that the spots on each giraffe are distinctive to that animal alone? Because of this, people who are familiar with giraffes (such as researchers), can often identify each animal merely by recognizing their spot patterns.
  43. Giraffes can often be seen with small, winged passengers perched on their backs. These birds are called "oxpeckers," or more commonly known as "tick-birds," because they eat the ticks off animals, including grateful giraffes. The birds get fed, and the giraffes rid themselves of parasites. Nature working in harmony. By the way, these useful birds also like the giraffes' earwax, and will travel deep into the ear to get it. Yum!
  44. The giraffe gets its name from the Arabic word "Xirapha," which means, "one who walks swiftly." Giraffes not only walk swiftly, but they run swiftly, as well. They have been recorded running as fast as 35 miles per hour (56 kilometres per hour)! To put that in perspective, humans run on average 10 miles an hour (16 kilometres). Since giraffes tire easily, they are unable to sustain these high speeds for very long, but can use these brief spurts of speed to help evade predators, such as lions.
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