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The tallest animal in the world, the giraffe towers over the African plains. Their height gives them an advantage watching for predators as well as being able to feed on leaves at the tops of trees that other animals can’t reach. Males can grow to a height of up to 18 feet, females around 16 feet. At 6 feet tall, even newborn giraffe calves are taller than the average human.
Giraffe eat most of the day, travelling miles to find the hundreds of pounds of leaves and buds they consume in a week’s time. Their favorite is the acacia tree despite the thorny branches. In fact, giraffe saliva has antiseptic properties to help their long tongues to heal quickly from any cuts or scrapes obtained while feeding.
Always on guard against predators, giraffe only sleep 30-120 minutes a day, broken up into short naps. Although they can run up to 35 mph and kill a lion with a single kick, giraffe are the most exposed to danger when they drink. Due to their height, they have to spread their front legs in an awkward position to bend down and reach the water, but they don’t drink more than once every few days since the plants they eat provide most of the water they need.
Although giraffe from the same range may have similar patterns of spots, each one’s lovely coat is unique. Typically giraffe are found in small herds, although older males tend to wander alone in search of a mate. They mate any time of the year and the calves are born about 15 months later. The mothers give birth standing up so the baby falls over five feet to the ground in their first moments. They recover quickly though and can stand within a half an hour and even run within ten hours of being born.