Kruger National Park

Bizarre Facts About The Giraffe

Scientific name: Giraffa camelopardalis,

The Giraffe is a large African mammal with a lengthy neck and forelegs, having a coat patterned with brown patches separated by lighter lines. It is the tallest living animal.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

But did you know that although the giraffe is extremely large, they only sleep 10 minutes to 2 hours a day? They do this while standing. Even when giving birth the giraffe stays standing. The mother will return to her own birthplace to give birth and within ten hours of birth the new born giraffe can already run along with his or her family. Every giraffe is equipped with a unique pattern as well as a darkly coloured tongue (this prevents sunburn) that can be as long as 45cm.

Male Giraffes will participate in fights to display their dominance by using their necks as weapons; the act is called “necking”. It rarely occurs that one is hurt seriously (like a broken neck or jaw) but it does happen from time to time.

According to some, up to 95% of all male giraffes are homosexual. Believe it or not, we could not find any proof of it.

The mating rituals of giraffes are rather complicated because female giraffes refuse to mate during the entirety of their pregnancy, which lasts 15 months. Between pregnancies, the females are ready to mate with a suitable male, but only for a brief period every two weeks.

The male giraffes keep track of female’s availability to mate by a behaviour called flehmen. Flehmen is when the female giraffe urinates in the male giraffe’s mouth. The male giraffe tastes the urine to see if she’s ready to mate. So, unless a particular taste is present, the male giraffe knows to leave the female alone. If the female is ready to mate, the males will scuffle around her while she waits shyly for the strongest one to dispatch the rivalry.

 

Written by: Tersha van Staden

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