The word “giraffe” comes from the Arabic zaraf (زرافة) and means “smart”.
A giraffe can eat up to 35 kg of plants per day. Although it can eat many kinds of plants, its favorite treat is barbed acacia. Reaching for the leaves, the male can stretch his tongue up to 42 centimeters.
The first giraffe was brought to Europe by Guy Julius Caesar in 46 BC. In 1486, the Medici giraffe appeared in Florence at Lorenzo Medici. In New time the first brought giraffe was in 1827 an animal named Zarafa who gave his name to it.
Male giraffes reach a height of 5 meters, but there are reports of specimens up to 7 meters high. Reliably measured growth of the largest giraffe was 6 meters. This giraffe lived in the “Chester Zoo” Zoo in England.
Although the giraffe is born without horns, the place of its future appearance is marked by bundles of black hair, under which is cartilage. Gradually, the cartilage tissue becomes ossified, turning into small horns, which then begin to grow. The bundles of black wool remain in the giraffe for a few years, then they are washed and disappear.
The only relative of the giraffe is the okapi.
Their only real enemy (besides a man) is a lion.
A giraffe can run at a speed of about 55 km/h.
Giraffes have the biggest heart, it weighs 11 kilograms, has a length of 60 centimeters and walls 6 centimeters thick, and the highest blood pressure of all terrestrial animals.
Giraffes have a black tongue, which can be as long as 45 cm.
Among all mammals, giraffes have one of the lowest sleep requirements – from ten minutes to two hours a day; on average, giraffes sleep 1.9 hours a day. Giraffes sleep lying down, bending their necks, and putting their heads on the croup. The natural position of the sleeping giraffe has never been documented until the 1970s when the first photographs of the sleeping giraffe in nature received Bernhard Grzimek.
The newborn giraffe, which can stand on its feet about an hour after birth, is 1.5 meters tall and weighs about 100 kg.
The giraffe can do without water longer than a camel.
A giraffe can clean the ears with its tongue.
A giraffe neck has seven vertebrae – the same amount as the neck of a man and most other mammals.
Like the fingerprints, the color of a giraffe is also unique.
The giraffe is the highest living mammal in the world: its height from ground to forehead is 4.8-5.8 meters.
The marriage period usually lasts from July to September, and the pregnancy period is 14-15 months. As a rule, only one calf is born.
Immediately after birth, the giraffe is 1.8 m tall and weighs 50 kg.
An hour later the calf stands firmly on its feet and after a few hours starts running. However, in a herd of calves are allowed only after two or three weeks. For about a year and a half, the offspring stay with their mother.
The birth takes place in a standing position, so the first thing the newborn baby has to do is fall from a two-meter height.
Giraffes live alone or in small herds.
The terrain they walk around in search of food can be up to 100 km².
Special valves in the jugular vein prevent blood from flowing back to the heart, which would cause oxygen deprivation of the brain. These valves also protect the brain from excessive blood flow when the head is tilted down while drinking.
Among all mammals, giraffes have one of the lowest sleep requirements, from ten minutes to two hours a day; on average, giraffes sleep 1.9 hours a day.
It is widely believed that giraffes are voiceless animals. However, they communicate with each other at frequencies below 20 Hz that are not audible to human hearing.
Giraffes are exclusively herbivorous animals.
Today, giraffes can be found only in the south of Sahara, primarily in the steppes of Eastern and Southern Africa.
The giraffe’s mouth is surrounded by a stratum corneum of skin that protects it from the sharp acacia thorns it eats. The giraffe’s very thick saliva envelops the thorns, which makes it easier to swallow.
At four years of age, the giraffe reaches puberty, at six years of age, it reaches full height.
In the wild, life expectancy is about 25 years, in captivity about 35.
The blow of an adult giraffe is so strong that it can decapitate a lion. There is a known case when a lion during a jump missed and was met with a powerful blow of hooves to the chest. An observer (an employee of one of the national parks), seeing that the lion did not rise after the fall, came closer and, after waiting for more than an hour, shot the mangled beast. The chest of the lion was crushed and almost all its ribs were broken.