Long necks, Short on Luck

March 12, 2017

  

Giraffes are among the most graceful of all animals, maybe it has something to do with having to stand for most of your life or being outstanding by being the tallest among all animals. Giraffes are one of my favorite animals they have so many characteristics that I find rather unique or just weird. Have you ever noticed that giraffes walk differently instead of a right leg – left leg lift they move both limbs of each side simultaneously? More like you are two legged I hope that's not too difficult to imagine if so please try and watch a giraffe walk. When running Giraffes take off in what looks like an effortless activity until you see the wide berth they create when outrunning ambitious predators like lions.

 

Giraffes are endemic to Africa. They have beautiful patterns and each species assumes a different coat pattern but even then each individual pattern is unique more like fingerprints.  Only four of the eleven species are extant as the rest have been declared extinct. Giraffes relate well with other animals especially the well-known Ox-pecker bird that pick ticks and gets a lot of free rides or better yet confuse the neck of the Giraffes for a branch. Although adult Giraffes are rarely preyed on by predators their young ones almost barely survive and are mostly snatched by Lions and Leopards. Giraffes spend most of their time standing which makes sense for them to have the hardest femur bone which has been recorded to kill a lion at just one kick. Tip; please stay where giraffes can see you otherwise if you creep behind them they can easily toss you to the next world with amazing speed.

 

Ever wondered why Giraffes have long necks? I am not sure I have ever arrived to a correct conclusion but at least to feed on those acacia leaves they like so much they have to be as tall to reach them, other than for feeding purposes I am not sure why else one they have such long necks especially because they must drink from pools or waterholes that are 5 meters below. Giraffes have very short necks when it comes to drinking they dangerously bend over spreading their front legs to reach the water level which is how they become easy prey to even crocodiles. Once knocked off balance with head facing down, it is unlikely for them to regain posture quickly enough to run.

 

They have a gestation period of 15 months and they give birth while standing, the poor calf arrive to their harsh reality by being dropped a few meters to the ground and a few minutes later stand up and learn to run for its life for the rest of its juvenile life. Sadly, Giraffe’s population is dwindling, their precious habitat is being degraded at each dawn and some communities hunt them for meat, others for fun and others use their skin for different purposes. They have a longevity period of 25 years in the wild at which I think they give up, standing to eat, to sleep and having to bend to drink and running for their lives.

 

 

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