Five Fast Facts About… Giraffes

Natural Selection
January 30, 2018

The excitement around our new Hoanib Valley Camp in Namibia is really hotting up, so we’ve turned our attention to the real stars of the area – the giraffes.

Image credit: Giraffe Conservation Foundation

 

1.HEIGHT ADVANTAGE

We all know giraffes are tall – it’s pretty hard to miss, but did you know that in addition to allowing them to reach those tasty acacia leaves, their statuesque height, combined with excellent eyesight, allows them to spot predators such as lions and hyenas from quite a distance?

 

2.LEAF LICKIN’ GOOD

Giraffes are herbivores, and thanks to their long necks they’re able to get to the very yummiest leaves and buds, and they have pretty impressive tongues that play a part too. A giraffe’s tongue can grow to an extraordinary 53 centimetres, and can be used to manoeuvre leaves around and pull them down closer. The majority of a giraffe’s time is spent eating, and they can shovel away up to 45 kilograms of grub a day.

 

3.WATER SHORTAGE

Despite their hefty appetites, giraffes don’t need to drink much water. They manage to hydrate through the food they eat, so only drink every few days.

 

4.INBUILT WEAPONRY

Those necks are extremely useful for reaching food and keeping an eye out for predators, and they can also prove pretty handy in a fight. Bull giraffes fight one another by ‘necking’, when they butt their neck and heads against one another until one giraffe admits defeat (and presumably gets a bit of a headache).

 

5.BORN WITH A BANG

Giraffes give birth from a standing position, meaning that the babies are born with a one and a half metre drop to the ground – quite the wake up call! The little ones are quickly on their feet, and will usually be standing up within half and hour, and running around after just a few hours.