Biology

8 curiosities of the giraffe that will surprise you

The giraffe is classified under the family Giraffidae; Currently there are four subspecies that live in Africa, of which the Giraffa camelopardalis is the most numerous. All are in a state of vulnerability , due to the loss of their habitat and indiscriminate hunting.

# 1 The long neck of the giraffe

Until relatively recently it was believed that the long neck of the giraffe was an adaptation to the environment , which allowed it to access certain leaves and shoots that were forbidden to most other terrestrial herbivores.

The most widely accepted hypothesis today is that the neck evolved under the pressure of sexual selection and its length is a simile of moose horns, since they are also used to fight for the preeminence of mating. And while it is not obvious (since females also have long necks), this explanation is based on exhaustive scientific observations.

# 2 The heart and blood pressure in giraffes

The head of giraffes is about 3 meters above the heart, which makes it very difficult for it to pump blood to the brain, which is why it is the mammal that has the highest pressure and its heart can weigh up to 10 kg.

# 3 The fertility test

In order for male giraffes to keep track of the times females are available to mate, these animals have developed a behavior called flehmen , in which the female giraffe urinates into the male’s mouth. This procedure tells you if it is time for pre-copulation fights or to wait for more propitious times.

# 4 Thirsty?

Giraffes practically do not sweat and get most of the water they need from the food they eat. This characteristic can be explained: since the process of bending over to drink puts giraffes in a vulnerable situation , they have evolved in such a way that they only drink once a day.

# 5 Speed: faster than we think

Giraffes may appear clumsy and disproportionate (in fact, their front legs are up to 10% longer than their hind legs), but in reality: they walk (each step advances 4.5 m), they gallop (reaching an average speed of 25 km / h ) or run (they are capable of traveling at more than 55 km / h). The problem is that, because of their long neck and huge windpipe, they lose their breath easily and have to stop to catch their breath every so often.

# 6 Defense: yes the giraffes also defend themselves (and very well)

Giraffes are well versed in the art of self-defense, to the point that even lions only dare to attack them if they go in large groups (and only when they are very hungry). The giraffe’s limbs are powerful and heavy, each ending in a hard, sharp hoof, 12 inches tall. A giraffe can kick in any direction and would be able to decapitate a big cat.

# 7 Straits: love?

It is very common to see the image of two giraffes with their necks coiled and in a very human act to believe that it is the ideal of romance. Nothing is further from the truth, since this act called narrowing is something like a pulse between the neck muscles, in which two males can invest more than 20 minutes and that leaves them exhausted, but with a clear winner.

# 8 The tongue

curiosities of the giraffe
curiosities of the giraffe

The tongue of giraffes is not only prehensile, but measures more than 50 cm. It is of a color between blue and black which protects it from the sun’s rays. In addition to serving to put food in your mouth, you can use it to clean your face and even your ears with it.

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