Above It All
  • Above It All
  • Twisted
  • How Low?
  • Mingling

Did You Know?

Who Ya Callin’ Klutzy?

Some people think we look clumsy with our long legs and disproportionally large upper body. Our bobbing walk, where both legs on one side are lifted in unison, might look awkward or slow. But, consider that with every step, we can cover 15 feet. And if we decide to run ... watch out! Our graceful gallops have been recorded at speeds of 35 miles per hour. Who ya callin’ klutzy, now?

Self-Defense 101

Would you guess that very few predators mess with us? Yep, we’re well-versed in the art of self-defense thanks to our powerful and heavy legs. Our kicks can kill a lion. And our hooves ... don’t even think about coming near one of those. They are hard, sharp and 12 inches wide. That’s the size of a large dinner plate.

Drinking Problems

Because we’re built the way we are, drinking can pose serious problems. To drink, we splay ... spread our front legs and drop our neck down in an awkward angle. If we’re ever vulnerable to predators, it’s right now. Luckily, we get most of the water we need from the plants that we eat. Problem solved!

Amazing Tongues

Our tongues are multi-faceted. We can wrap our tongues around leaves and then we use our lips and flattened, grooved teeth to strip the leaves off the branches. Our favorite leaves come from the tall acacia trees.

Seeing Spots

Apart from our necks, some say our most striking feature is our magnificent, spotted coat. Just like human fingerprints, we each have a unique pattern. However, those of us from the same area tend to have similar patterns. And, you can tell how old we are just by looking at us. The darker the spots, the older the giraffe.

Head Rush

Yep, you guessed it, we have high blood pressure ... 240/160. How else do you suppose we get the blood to our brains? Our hearts, which weigh around 22 pounds, are specially adapted to generate twice the blood pressure of other large mammals.

Insomniac?

We only spend between 10 minutes and two hours asleep per day. We’re not insomniacs; we simply have one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal.

Special thanks to the Dallas Zoo for hosting Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.