You have Sharon at A Number of Things and Katherine at Photobooth Journal to thank for today’s post. They really wanted evidence of my weekend at work dressed as a giraffe in honour of the thirtieth anniversary of Dear Zoo. However, much like an elf a Ziggy is tricky to capture on film. But it did get me thinking about the Giraffe so here are some factoids;
- Its favourite food is Acacia leaves which it eats with an 18 inch purple/black prehensile tongue
- They are born with horns called Ossicones
- The poor females have to endure 15 months of pregnancy and the baby or calf is born head first and has a terrifying fall of six feet before hitting the ground. This wakes him up! He’s wandering around unaided after an hour.
- It was believed that giraffes were mute but in fact they grunt and snort at each other, presumably very quietly. Interestingly they also communicate on an ultrasound level
- Their latin name, Giraffa camelopardalis, roughly translated means ‘one who walks swiftly, a camel marked like a leopard’.
- They are only found naturally in Africa
- They generally sleep standing up as it would be too difficult for the poor things to get up quickly should a predator happen to amble along. Consequently they snooze for a mere 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
- Little birds called Oxpickers hitch a ride on the back of giraffes and keep their coat free of bugs and ticks
- Their hearts are 2 feet long
- They have no tear ducts and yet have been seen to cry
- Their necks, although incredibly long, have only have 7 vertebrae…..the same as us.
- And just as no two humans have the same finger prints, so no two giraffes have the same pattern
In the book, Dear Zoo, the little boy doesn’t want the giraffe as a pet as “he was too tall”. So he sends him back to the zoo. Ungrateful child. But if he’d been in full possession of the facts would he have been so churlish? How could you turn away a big-hearted creature that has been dropped on his head as a baby, makes barely a sound, has simple food requirements and is desperate for a solid nights kip? So I ask you dear reader; would you send the giraffe back?
But enough of this fantasy. Here is a creature I saw wandering around the neighbourhood the other night. A Giraffelf.
Fact or fiction? You decide.