One of my favorite experiences was feeding giraffes apples at Marine World when I was about 10. Not only did I get to see them up-close, but I even got to feel their tongues on my hand as they grabbed the food! Seeing them in the wild would be amazing, though. They're so graceful and quiet (opposite myself...maybe why I liked them so much?).
Here are some little-known giraffe facts that most people don't know:
- Despite its length, giraffes only have 7 bones in their neck (the same number as humans).
- Giraffes have four stomachs, just like cows, which means they also chew their cud. Could you imagine the same food going up and down that long neck multiple times?
- Although most people think giraffes don't make any noise, they do. Giraffes moo. It's not very common, but every once in a while they'll let one out.
- Giraffes have extremely long tongues - 22 inches - which help them pull leaves off branches. The tip is black while the rest is pink (I think it probably helps protect them from the hot sun).
- Giraffes are 6 feet tall when born, and a baby must drop 6 feet from their mother to the ground. Talk about a scary welcome to the world!
- Although giraffes tend to be peaceful, a mother giraffe can kick a lion's head off when protecting its young. Now that's pretty hard core...
- Most giraffes' favorite type of food is Acacia (which also happens to be in certain types of gum, although I don't remember which brands).
- There are multiple species of giraffes (I think about 7...but I could be wrong on that). I don't remember them all, but my favorite is Reticulated. Masai is very common as well.
- Male giraffes will show off their masculinity to female giraffes by standing side by side, twisting their necks around each other, and head-butting each other until one of them gives up. Sexy, huh?
Photo Credit: Martin Pettitt