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Fascinating Facts: Giraffes

Ten intriguing things about our long-legged friends that you may not have known.

1. Giraffes are the tallest mammals on the planet and their legs alone are longer than the height of most humans.

2. Giraffes necks are too short to reach the ground, meaning that they need to awkwardly bend their legs to drink from water sources.

3. Each and every giraffe’s spots are unique. This helps with camouflage. They only need to stand still to dissapear into their surroundings.

4. Giraffes need only small amounts of sleep and nap for an average 15 minutes per day. They will lie down to rest at times but generally not for longer than five minutes.

5. A giraffe calf weighs 100kg when it is born and can stand within 15 minutes.

6. The species name camelopardalis means camel-like leopard which refers to both its skin colour and the way in which it walks, as being similar to a camel.

7. A giraffe’s tongue can grow up to 45 cm in length and is very rubbery, therefore not easily damaged by thorns.

8. Giraffes eat about 35 kg of leaves everyday.

9. You can tell the difference between a male and female giraffe by looking at their horns. The male’s being shorter and wider and the female’s more elegant with tufts of hair. Males possess a third horn known as a median in the centre of their forehead.

10. Giraffe populations have shrunk by approx. 40% in the past 30 years and it is estimated that there are no more than 100,000 giraffes remaining in the wild. The IUCN lists the species as vulnerable.