World Giraffe Day is an initiative of the Giraffe Conservation Fund and it is observed on June 21. This weekend would be a great time to pay these gentle giants a visit at the zoo. Giraffes happen to be my favorite zoo animals. Because I am very short, I admire their height, but I am also very fond of how gentle and graceful they are. They face a lot of challenges, and there are less than 80,000 giraffes remaining in the wild, meaning there are far fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.
Here are some ten giraffe facts for World Giraffe Day.
– Giraffes are the tallest animals, with their legs alone measuring around 6 feet tall.
– Giraffe are surprisingly speedy. They run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances, and when going long distances, they can cruise at approximately 10 miles per hour.
– In fact, their speed is what got giraffes their name. The word “giraffe” is believed to originate from the Arabic word “zarafa,” meaning “fast walker.”
– Giraffes aren’t terribly thirsty. The majority of their water come from the plants they eat, and giraffes need to drink every few days or so.
– The darkness of a giraffe’s spots indicates its age. A giraffe’s spots get darker as it gets older.
– Speaking of spots, it is true that giraffes have unique spot patterns. While no two are identical, giraffes from the same area do have spot patterns that appear similar.
– Giraffes have crazy tongues! Their tongues are between 18 and 21-inches long, and they use it to eat tasty morsels from branches. Their tongues are purple, which protect them from the sun’s rays while eating.
– Giraffes are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants like leaves, fruit, shoots, and seeds.
– Although they have the same number of vertebrae as humans (7), their neck is 6 feet long.
Giraffes alone are worth a visit to the zoo. Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo is observing World Giraffe Day a day early on June 20, 2015. You can find more information on the event here.
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