Giraffes are one of the most unique and iconic species with their long necks and towering heights. They can get on by less than thirty minutes of sleep each day and drink water every several days. But what’s most fascinating is how they are formidable already even after hours of being born. Here are the top 15 amazing facts about baby giraffes.
1. Baby Giraffes Are 15 Months In The Making.
Giraffes have one of the longest gestation periods in the animal kingdom. Nine months is a long time, but imagine for 15 months! Two other African giants take even longer. Rhinos have a gestation period of 15 – 16 months while elephants have the longest of all mammals, 22 months. That makes sense, though, as elephants are the largest living land mammals.
2. Baby Giraffes Have The Same Name As Baby Cows.
A baby giraffe, along with the babies of other seemingly unrelated members of the animal kingdom, such as elephants, cows, and even whales, is called a calf. In that same sense, a giraffe is called a cow, and a male is called a bull.
3. Newborns Are The Size Of A Full Grown Human
Their average height is six feet tall when born. A giraffe’s height is an evolutionary adaptation that allows it to feed on tall trees and other vegetation sources that grow high above the ground. By knowing that giraffes are the tallest land animals in the world, a six feet tall calf makes complete sense.
4. Giraffe Moms Give Birth Standing Up
There are no doctors or equipment for giraffes to be helped while giving birth; they do it all on their own. They give birth standing up, which means the calf will fall six feet from the wound to the ground. This helps break the amniotic sac and umbilical cord so that the baby can start breathing.
5. Baby Giraffes Can Stand And Walk Within One Hour
There’s no waiting around for these animals. And rightly so. An animal that can’t stand or run is going to be snatched up pretty quickly. All those birth juices give off a scent, and it’s not long before hyenas and big cats are sniffing around the birth site. So they need to be ready to escape from predators.
6. Baby Giraffes Weigh Up To 60 Kg.
The newly arrived giraffe is two meters long as well. That’s one of the largest babies in the animal world, although nowhere close to the largest baby. Blue whale babies weigh three tons (3000 kg) at birth, then add an extra 100 kg a day for their first year in the world. But going back to giraffes, baby giraffes weigh in at 150 pounds, which is the same as the number of words in the complete English Oxford Dictionary.
7. The Fathers Do Not Get Involved.
Males and fathers don’t play any part in bringing up baby giraffes. However, giraffe towers do travel together, so the males have a security role to play, defending the babies against predators.
8. Giraffes Form Towers
A mother usually gives birth on her own, in a quiet part of the savannah. Then she rejoins the tower. Yes, a group of giraffes isn’t known as a herd, it’s a tower. This is one of the best collective nouns for groups of animals and a nice piece of safari knowledge to impress a guide.
9. Giraffes Hide Their Condition When In Labor.
This is a survival instinct they develop not to appear more vulnerable to predators; laboring moms will hide their signs for as long as possible. This makes it hard to tell, for zookeepers or breeders, when a giraffe works until she goes into active labor, or until the hooves show. An early labor could last for days.
10. A Calf Doubles Its Height In The First Year.
Even though a newborn has a long neck, it is about to get a lot longer. In comparison to the size of their bodies, babies have much shorter necks than the adults.
After 12 months of life, the giraffe will have doubled in height. Most of this newfound height is on the neck. It’s essential for giraffes first to grow tall and then grow fat. If they didn’t grow tall, they couldn’t reach the tree branches they feed on.
11. Calves Are Raised In Daycare Groups.
They probably don’t call them daycare groups or kindergartens, but that’s essentially what they are. Mothers band together, taking turns to look after the youngsters. One mother will look over the daycare group, while the others are out feeding and foraging.
12. Baby Giraffes Leave The Daycare At Two Years Old.
Youngsters stay with their mothers for the first 18 to 24 months. After that, they usually leave the tower and set off on their own. However, the maternal bond remains strong, particularly between mother and daughter. Giraffes will regularly return to their mother and travel with her for a few days or weeks.
13. Once Grown A Giraffe Has A 12kg Heart.
Once fully grown, a giraffe has one of the most staggering organs in the animal kingdom. Just imagine, a heart that weighs 12 kg. In comparison, the average human heart weighs around 310 grams!
Such an incredible heart is necessary to pump blood more than two meters to the brain. The blood rushes around at such intense pressure a giraffe needs special artery walls to stop its blood vessels from popping.
14. Male Giraffes Are Ready To Be Fathers At Six Years Old
Males reach sexual maturity by six years old, but it’s unlikely they will get a chance to mate until they are well into their teens, so they have to wait. Competition is tough, and males usually need to win a few necks to neck battles to earn the right to mate with a female.
15. Females Are Ready To Be Moms At Age Four.
Imagine that you’ve only been in the world for 48 months, and now you spend 15 months developing a new life. Well, that’s what it’s like for female giraffes, at four years old they are ready to have their own babies.
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