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"World's Tallest Animal - Video"

August 29, 2010, 11:43:44
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Giraffes are the world's tallest animal and they are only found in Africa. They never bathe, are powerful enough to kill a lion, and they are threatened by loss of territory and by hunters who want their tails for flyswatters and lucky charms.

 

A mother Giraffe carries her baby for 15 months before birth. The new-born calf must fall 6 feet to the ground when it enters the world. A baby Giraffe weighs about 150 lbs (68 Kgs) at birth and stands 6ft tall (2m). Giraffes live for about 25 years in the wild. An adult Giraffe is 18 ft (5.5 m) tall and can weigh up to 4000 lbs (1900 Kgs). A Giraffe is strong enough to kill a lion (their only real enemy) and they use their hooves as weapons. They can run up to 37 MPH (59 KmH) and eat up to 75 lbs (35 Kgs) of food every day. Their favorite food is leaves from the Acacia tree.  Their tongue is black and most Giraffes spend 18 hours a day feeding. Zoo Giraffes eat onions as a rare treat. They have a 4-chambered stomach and throw up their food to chew and digest it even more much like a cow does.

Giraffes get most of their water from the Acacia leaves, but they need 10 gallons (38 liters) of water a day. Even with their long neck, their heads cannot reach the ground while standing and they must kneel or spread their front legs to drink from a lake or river. Their heart weighs 22 lbs (10 Kgs) and Giraffes have the highest blood pressure in the animal kingdom. Their heart beats 170 times per minute. They can sleep standing up but usually lay on the ground to rest but only for very short periods - 5-10 minutes. Their tongue is black and is 18 in long (45 cm). The knobs on top of their heads are called Ossicones.

 

Giraffes are usually quiet but they can moo, roar, cough, and whistle. Male Giraffes cough while fighting and females will whistle to call their young. Giraffes live in herds for protection. A male is called a bull and a female is a cow. Male Giraffes fight among each other to determine which one gets the females. This fighting only lasts for about 10 minutes and is called necking, where they wrap their necks around each other and can land heavy blows with their heads that can knock down their opponent.

 

Giraffes have the longest tail of any land animal and they are hunted for their tails. The tails are used as good luck charms, thread, and flyswatters. There are less than 80,000 giraffes left in the world today. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought that Giraffes were a cross between a Camel and a Leopard and they called them Camelopardis. No one has ever seen a giraffe take a bath.

 

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