10 of the Most Interesting, Fun And Amazing Facts About Giraffes :
Between trips to the zoo or safaris in African countries, it is very likely that everyone has seen giraffes at least once in their lives. These large animals that measure an average of 4 meters in height seem to have no secrets… But do you really know everything about these savannah giants? Here are 10 little-known anecdotes and Amazing Facts About Giraffes. We learn every day!
Every living thing is tinged with mystery and giraffes are no exception. They have behaviors and physical characteristics that you probably didn’t doubt existed… It’s about time to remedy these shortcomings with these 10 Amazing Facts About Giraffes!
1: Giraffes are critically endangered
Unfortunately, these magnificent and gigantic creatures are in danger. In the last 15 years, 40% of the giraffe population has disappeared. In total, seven African countries have seen giraffes gradually disappear. For good reason, the destruction of their natural habitat by humans and poaching.
However, our friends are essential to the maintenance of African biodiversity. By eating the shoots and leaves of trees, they contribute to the birth and development of many plant species. All animals found in the wild have a role to play, so protecting them should be a priority… These facts about giraffes should warn you…
2: Giraffes come in 4 different species
It is believed that they all look alike and that there is only one kind of giraffe. Think again, there are actually quite a few. Until 2016 it was thought that there were 9 according to an old classification. However, giraffes had not been studied as thoroughly as other animals.
Thanks to DNA testing, researchers have been able to establish the existence of four different species of giraffes. Their distinction is essentially based on natural habitat, fur and horns. Even if it is not visible, there are indeed some subtle differences between one and the other!
3: White giraffes have been discovered in Kenya and Tanzania
It was in 2017 when a female giraffe and her baby giraffe were exposed to the eyes of a villager. Surprisingly, her dress had no stains, but an impeccable white. Luckily for them, the habitat chosen was a protected area. As they approached the couple, environmentalists made sure that the mother had hidden her little one and became defensive.
They filmed them from afar, generating the first images of giraffes with leucism. This feature differs from albinism in that some pigment cells survive, as in white tigers. The mother/child couple also had some black spots on their head and legs, as well as dark eyes.
4: Male giraffes see how their fur darkens with age
Patterns drawn on the fur of giraffes usually tend towards brown. However, as they age, they turn black in males. We can also define approximately their age by observing this pigmentation. Around age 9, the spots are much darker than at the beginning of their life. At the moment, scientists have not found the cause of this pigment evolution.
Only males are affected. This could have something to do with the development of testosterone hormones. Surely you did not expect to read facts about giraffes that even science cannot explain…
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5: Giraffes sing a song at night
While they seem calm and placid during the day, giraffes are not so calm. This permanent silence sowed doubt in the minds of some researchers, who ended up thinking that they only communicated with gestures and grunts. In 2015, groups of giraffes spread across three European zoos lent themselves to an experiment.
For about 1000 hours, the cameras recorded his every move. After a while, scientists noticed that after dark, giraffes communicated… humming! It is a hybrid noise between the hum of bees and religious songs. The frequency of this sound is very low, but it is still perceptible to the human ear if one is attentive. As this buzz is only emitted at night, giraffes are supposed to meet thanks to it, or snore…
6: The Marius giraffe scandal
In 2014, Copenhagen Zoo said it had to sacrifice one of its giraffes. Marius was a young male, only 18 months old, but according to staff, his genetic heritage contributed nothing to the species’ breeding program at the zoo. Officials also feared that as he grew older, Marius would cause conflict with the other men in the group.
Despite a petition and numerous protests, Copenhagen Zoo refused to keep or entrust Marius to another animal establishment. Thus, the poor giraffe was executed and its remains were entrusted for experiments or to feed predators… However, a zoo in Sweden had asked, unsuccessfully, to recover the poor giraffe. Unfortunately, this process is not an isolated case and is still in force in parks and animal establishments…
7: Some birds like to sleep under the armpits of giraffes
Motion-sensitive cameras have been installed in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The project was created to capture rare images that provide more insight into the lifestyle of wild animals. The researchers were surprised to find that the parasitic birds, the yellow-billed hummingbirds, slept under the armpits of giraffes. These birds were thought to choose a host during the day and then leave at night. Rather, they prefer to stay safe directly in their food source. Yellow-billed hummingbirds feed mainly on the blood and other secretions of mammals. Charming!
8: Giraffes, proven herbivores, sometimes attack corpses
Photographer Corinne Kendall, who works for National Geographic, travelled to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. To her surprise, she immortalized a somewhat disturbing situation. In fact, giraffes chewed on a mammal’s carcass, spinning it from time to time in the air. Actually, this is not a rare behaviour among herbivores. To live they need calcium and phosphorus. Therefore, giraffes looked for bones to gnaw or lick, in order to feed on their nutrients. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Nature has not finished surprising us!
9: A fifteenth-century Chinese emperor loved giraffes
Ming Yongle is a famous Chinese emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Curious to discover the world and its secrets, he sent a fleet of ships on an expedition. The latter arrived in South Africa, where her mission was to find an exotic animal to take to the sovereign. Explorers dug up a giraffe in Kenya and had no problem getting it on one of their huge boats. He came under Yongle’s gaze, the giraffe captivated him.
Therefore, he asked his painter to make a portrait of him, in the company of this amazing creature. The artist had the excellent idea of freezing the emperor’s dumbfounded expression, gawking at the giraffe!
10: Giraffes are predisposed to a strange disease
In 2014, an American student at the University of Michigan had to choose a subject of study to validate his master’s degree. He set his sights on the giraffes, because he had heard a particularly interesting rumour about them. Some of these huge mammals would develop a strange disease, unique in its kind. Symptoms would be limited to injuries to the legs and neck.
The skin eventually becomes gray and extremely rough, until it begins to bleed. Little research has been done on the subject and it is not known where this disease comes from, nor how it is transmitted to giraffes. We can say that this is part of the facts about giraffes that are even unknown to the scientific community…
More Amazing Facts About Giraffes:
- The giraffe is the tallest animal on Earth, but it’s not just its size that’s so impressive.
- Its tongue is 18 to 20 inches long and is made of hard, loose tissue. This tissue helps them draw water from trees and shrubs when they need to drink.
- A giraffe can drink 20 gallons of water at a time. They do this by sticking their head in the water and putting it in their mouths with their tongue, which is nearly 18 inches long.
- Giraffes have surprisingly strong hearts that pump blood 10 times more efficiently than the human heart
- Giraffes spend their entire lives in trees. They only go down to the ground to mate and give birth.
- Giraffes have hair on their tongue so they can eat thorny plants without scratching or injuring themselves.
- To avoid being bitten by a predator, giraffes often resort to kicking near the top of a tree and produce a sound that sounds like thunder coming from all directions.