Giraffes are extremely curious and sure to steal your heart with their long necks, beautiful patchwork coat, and lovable nature. Despite that they are one of the most recognisable animals in the animal kingdom, there are a lot of unknown facts about them. Here are 5 things you might not know about giraffes, including how to tell whether they are male or female.
Giraffes can go a really long time without drinking water.
Until you see it, you don’t realize how hard the world’s tallest animal has it. Sure, they may be able to reach the best leaves at the very top of the trees. But imagine the effort that giraffes have to go through just to get a drink of water. They have to get into a pretty awkward position, spreading their front legs wide and craning their neck downward. Not only does it strain their neck, but the awkward position leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators like crocodiles. To help with this, their digestive system can obtain almost all the water that they need from the leaves that they eat. Adult giraffes only need to drink once every couple of days.
You can tell if a giraffe is male or female by looking at the horns.
Both male and female giraffes have horns, but the tops of the horns on a male are almost always bald while a female’s horns will be completely covered with hair. This is because males establish dominance by fighting with other males and the hair on top of the horns gets torn off. Females don’t fight, so they never lose the hair on their horns.
Giraffes and birds are friends.
Giraffes have a symbiotic relationship with some birds, who help giraffes keep clean by eating mites and dirt off of them. What do the birds get in return? A tasty meal and a free ride!
Giraffes can run. Fast.
Though most of the time you’ll see giraffes walking leisurely around, they can run. Their long legs help them run up to 56 kilometers per hour over short distances or to cruise comfortably at around 16 kilometers per hour over longer distances. A majestic site indeed!
No two giraffes’ spotted coats are alike.
While the different sub-species of giraffes can appear to be similar, all giraffes have a unique pattern. Their spots also darken with age, and scientists have said that they can calculate their age from this darkening.
Impress your guide on your next game drive by sharing these interesting facts with them 😉