- Standing at dizzying heights of 5.4m with their beautiful tan, white or yellow coats Giraffes are hard to miss.
- Kenya is a hotspot for Giraffe in East Africa and has an estimated 29,000 giraffes which account for almost 30% of Giraffe in Africa.
- To raise awareness about giraffes survival, World Giraffe Day is held annually on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year to celebrate the longest-necked animal.
Giraffes are one of the most beautiful and graceful creatures on the planet. Standing at dizzying heights of 5.4m with their beautiful tan, white or yellow coats Giraffes are hard to miss.
In recent years, however, giraffes have come under extreme danger of going extinct largely due to poaching, habitat loss. Dubbed the "silent extinction" by scientists, giraffe populations have plummeted 40% in the past 30 years. There are only approximately 111,000 Giraffes remaining in the wild today.
Kenya is a hotspot for Giraffe in East Africa and has an estimated 29,000 giraffes which account for almost 30% of Giraffe in Africa. There are 9 giraffe sub-species, 3 of which are found in Kenya. The Rothschild, Maasai and Reticulated giraffes.
To raise awareness about giraffes survival, World Giraffe Day is held annually on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year to celebrate the longest-necked animal.
Considering that, here are some fun facts about Giraffes.
1. They are the tallest mammals on Earth
Their legs alone are taller than many humans-about 6 feet. A giraffe's neck alone is 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and weighs about 600 lbs. (272 kilograms). Females grow up to 14 feet (4.3 m) tall and weigh up to 1,500 lbs. (680 kg), while males grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m) tall and weigh up to 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kg).
They can run 35 mph (56 km/h) in short bursts and run for longer stretches at 10 mph (16 km/h), according to National Geographic.
2. No two giraffes are the same
Just like human fingerprints and zebra stripes, the coat pattern of a giraffe is unique to that animal.
3. Giraffes love to hang out in towers
Giraffes are so social that they don't have territories. A group of giraffes is aptly called a tower, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Towers typically have 10 to 20 members. Who lives in the tower can vary. Some towers consist of all females and their young, or all male or mixed genders. Members are free to come and go as they please.
4. They are experts in power naps
Giraffes only sleep around 20 minutes or less per day, according to PBS Nature. Staying awake most of the time allows them to be constantly on alert for predators. They usually get their sleep-in quick power naps that last just a couple of minutes.
5. They like their food in greens and don’t drink much water
Giraffes are herbivores, which means they eat only plants. Their long necks allow them to reach leaves, seeds, fruits, buds and branches high up in mimosa and acacia trees. They can eat hundreds of pounds of leaves per week, according to National Geographic. They can guzzle up to 45kg of leaves and twigs a day.
Their tongues are a substantial 21 inches (53 centimetres) long. Giraffes don’t drink much water because they get most of their water from their leafy meals, and only need to drink once every few days.
6. They can go without drinking for weeks
Though these animals eat a lot, giraffes can go without drinking for weeks at a time. They get most of their moisture from the vegetation they eat.
7. Their ‘horns’ are called ossicones
Every giraffe has two hair-covered horns called ossicones. Male giraffes use their horns to playfully fight with one another.
8. ‘Necking’ is their thing
They also spar by swinging their heads at one another and entwining their necks, which is called "necking."
9. They have cows and bulls
As in cattle, female giraffes are called cows, while the males are called bulls. After mating, the cow will have a gestation period of around 14 months. Baby giraffes are called calves.
10. Their caves have one of the most painful births
Giraffes calves have one of the most painful births. Newborns are welcomed to the world with a 1.5m drop to the ground! Ouch! But these infants are quick to get on their feet – within 30 minutes they are standing, and only hours later they” re able to run with their mothers, according to National Geographic.
11. They can live up to the age of 40
In the wild these beautiful creatures live for around 25 years. In captivity, they live longer and have been known to reach 40 years old.