Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth. They also have the longest neck and legs of all animals. Where can you find giraffes?
They are mostly found at game parks and game reserves throughout Africa. If you are lucky, there are some at a zoo near you!
Baby giraffes stay in their mum’s tummy for 15 months. They fall up to six feet to the ground at birth and hit their head. Ouch! But they don’t really get hurt. The fall helps them to take their first breath.
What’s more, they can see very well immediately after birth.
Sometimes baby giraffes have a twin, though it is a very rare occasion. In most cases, the mother giraffe only gives birth to one calf.
Baby giraffes can walk just one hour after birth! At first, they do a funny wobbly stumble but they pick up quickly and within no time, they can run. Hey, they have to if they don’t want the king of the jungle to eat them!
Baby giraffes look so tiny when they are next to their mother, but actually, at birth, they are as tall as a human adult! Giraffe calves are born close to six feet tall. Amazing, isn’t it?
Baby giraffes are so heavy at birth! They weigh a whopping 100 – 150 lbs! Maybe they need to watch their diet? No?
Baby giraffes grow up so fast! By the time giraffes have their fourth birthday, they are fully grown and considered to be adults. They can grow as much as two inches a day when they are very young.
They grow so tall! Baby giraffes grow to be eighteen feet tall for the boys and fourteen feet tall for the girls!
For about the first six months, baby giraffes eat only their mother’s milk. After that, they begin to feed on leaves with some help from mummy. She pulls down the twigs for them so they can reach the leaves and learn to browse.
We all like to have our meals and finish in the shortest time possible, right? Well, not the baby giraffes and their families. Their mealtime can last up to 18 hours! Yes, for 18 hours a day, giraffes will be nibbling and chewing on twigs, leaves, and branches.
Baby giraffes don’t get as thirsty. They take water once in a couple of days or so. This is because they get most of their required water from all the leaves they eat.
Additionally, although their necks are long, they are not long enough to reach the water from a river or watering hole. They hence have to awkwardly spread their legs so as to push their necks forward. A fantastic and funny sight to behold.
Baby giraffes love snacking too! They love eating wild apricot trees, acacia leaves and twigs, and mimosa.
Baby giraffes have teeth! But baby giraffes and all giraffes only have teeth on the lower side. Their upper jaws are toothless! In total, they grow 32 teeth just like us humans, but all placed on the lower jaw.
Baby giraffes also have horns. At birth even! Their horns are called ossicones. At birth, they are not attached to the skull for safety during delivery but as they grow, the ossicones fuse with the skull.
Baby giraffes are mostly cared for by the mother giraffe, but just like us humans do at times, baby giraffes are left in the care of aunties or granny giraffes as the mother giraffe goes about some other business.
Baby giraffes stay under mommy’s care for about two years, or until mommy gets another baby. The female baby giraffe stays with the herd while the male will join a group of other males until he gets mating rights.
Baby giraffes go to sleep while standing up! Can you believe it? Baby giraffes and their entire family sleep or catch naps while standing up. Why? Because then they are alert to any predators that may be looming about. So they curl their necks and take a 30-minute snooze!
Their tongue is so long! 50 cm long! Yes, that is correct. They use this extra long tongue to pull on shrubs and twigs during mealtime.
A baby giraffes tongue is deep purple in colour. This is due to dark melanin pigment.
Baby giraffes have a big heart, literally! When giraffes are fully grown their heart is close to two feet long and can weigh up to 24 lbs! So imagine how large a baby giraffe’s heart is—still many, many times larger than a human heart. They must share a lot of love from that big heart!
As tall as their necks are, it is shocking that they only have seven vertebrae. That’s the same number as humans!
Baby giraffes can also run very fast. In fact, as fast as 30 miles per hour!
Giraffes, and therefore their babies, are not really an endangered species, but they have to be kept in protected areas in some cases because they get hunted by humans.
They do like to be petted! Just not on their head. Otherwise, they are friendly animals.
So there you have it. These are just a few fun facts about the baby giraffes, which are known as calves. Go ahead and make that visit to the zoo and spend time with them. They are amazing animals to watch.
Remember it is the responsibility of each one of us to care for the animals and save them from extinction, by being conscious about our environment.