Yesterday early afternoon, we were gifted with the presence of seven giraffes in the garden. We couldn’t have been more thrilled, holding our breath in awe as we shot as many photos as possible. With their heads in the trees munching on a few sparse trees, it wasn’t easy to get great images of their heads and faces, but we did the best we could.
Taking the above video was the highlight of the experience, and we hope you’ll take a moment to view it. I know it can be annoying to watch videos on a website, considering the possibility of advertisers, which we have. Still, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you’ll see on the many videos we’ve posted over the years.
Often, when giraffes stop by, they don’t stay for long. They fall into the “eat and run” visitor status, but we are always happy to see them regardless of how long they stay. They don’t interact with humans at all here in the park, although there’s enormous interaction with them at a resort in Kenya called Giraffe Manor. I’ve always wanted to visit there, but both times we had booked such events, they were canceled, once by us due to heart surgery and another time due to the pandemic.
Giraffes are fascinating animals. Here are 14 facts about giraffes you may find to be enjoyable from this site:
14 fascinating facts about giraffes:
- There are four distinct species of the giraffe: Northern giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, Southern giraffe giraffa, Reticulated giraffe G. reticulata and Masai giraffe G. tippelskirchi.
- Giraffe are already extinct in at least seven countries in Africa.
- Just like human fingerprints, no two giraffe have the same coat pattern.
- Giraffe feet are the size of a dinner plate with a diameter of 30 cm.
- Giraffe tongues are bluish-purple and between 45 and 50 cm long.
- Both male and female giraffe have horns already at birth. These ossicones lie flat and are not attached to the skull to avoid injury at birth. They only fuse with the skull later in life.
- The giraffe is the tallest mammal in the world. Even newborn giraffe are taller than most humans.
- Female giraffe give birth standing up. Their young fall about 2 m to the ground and can stand up within an hour of birth.
- In some populations, over 50% of all giraffe calves do not survive their first year.
- A giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. To drink, giraffe first have to splay their forelegs and/or bend their knees, and only then can they lower their necks to reach the surface of the water.
- Giraffe only drink once every few days. Even when water is readily available, evidence shows that many giraffe do not drink regularly – sometimes not at all.
- To protect the giraffe’s brain from sudden changes in blood pressure when it drinks, the jugular veins have incredibly elastic walls and large one-way valves that allow the veins to expand significantly and prevent the blood from flowing back to the brain when the giraffe’s head is lowered.
- Alternatively, to help fight gravity when blood returns to the heart from a giraffe’s feet, their blood vessels are thickly walled and muscled, and the skin on the legs is so tight it acts like giant compression socks. These unique adaptations have been studied by scientists at NASA to get inspiration for human space suits.
- A giraffe heart weighs approximately 11 kilograms (almost 25 pounds) with an average resting heart rate of 40-90 beats per minute. While people thought that the giraffe had a larger heart compared to other mammals to pump blood around its body, this is not true. Rather the giraffe’s heart has a thicker muscle on the left side (ventricle) of the heart so it can generate enough force to fight gravity.
When reading #10 in the above list, it makes sense why giraffes aren’t interested in eating pellets from the ground. I suppose if the pellets were on a high ledge, they’d probably like the pellets since they are herbivores. So far, other than carnivore animals that only eat meat, we’ve yet to see an animal here in the park that doesn’t care for the pellets other than a variety of cats including civets, lions, leopards, genets, lizards, crocs, snakes and mongooses.
Bushbabies are omnivores and eat fruit, nuts, insects, and small rodents occasionally. We’ve never seen a bushbaby eating a pellet. Also, the commonly seen helmeted guinea-fowl love to eat pellets. They usually break them up into small pieces since they are the size of half a human finger, but they will occasionally swallow them whole. Other birds don’t seem to be interested in the pellets.
Today will be another warm day with a high of 91F, 33C, with a low of 56F, 13C. As the temperature rises, so does the humidity, which is why it may be unbearably hot here in the summer months and why there are so many mosquitos. We’ve yet to turn on the air-con in the bedroom at night. There are not a lot of insects yet, but as it warms up, there will be insects everywhere. Between the heat, the humidity, the mosquitos, and other insects, many tourists stay away during the summer months.
The sparse trees and bushes make life hard for the wildlife, especially right now, before the rainy season from November until April, when the bush is lush with bright green foliage for the animals to eat. For the next few months, unless we get some rain, the bush will be dry, a fire hazard, and lacking in food for the animals. For this reason, we don’t hesitate to feed the animals pellets, fruit, and vegetables.
This afternoon at 3:00 pm, 1500hrs., we’re heading out to visit friends Sindee and Bruce at their home in Marloth Park. I did a little baking this morning so we could bring them an entire pan of homemade coconut banana bread. We seldom visit anyone’s home empty-handed.
The recipe called for two cups of ripe bananas, but we were left with several ripe bananas. Norman, Nina, and Noah stopped by, and they each ate a few of the bananas. We had enough to share with the four bushbucks in the garden. We couldn’t stop laughing when Jasmine literally peeled her banana with her mouth before eating the insides. We’d seen kudus do this but never a bushbuck. It was the cutest thing.
Now, at noon, the garden is quiet after a busy morning packed with many species. Enjoy our photos from the past 24 hours and our above new video.
Photo from one year ago today, September 4, 2021: