What’s the tallest animal in the world? You’re right – the giraffe! A male giraffe is about 18 feet tall. How tall are you? How many kids your size would it take, standing on each others’ shoulders, to reach the height of a giraffe???
The cool thing about this animal is not only its long neck, but also its four long legs. No wonder it can reach food the other animals can’t!
What’s simple for some animals, can be very difficult for a giraffe – taking a drink of water, for instance. Think about how you would do this if you were a giraffe. You’d have to put your front legs way out in front of you and slowly tip your head down, being careful not to do a forward somersault (and get the hippos laughing at you!).
When you pick up your head and extend your neck again after your refreshing drink, you’re lifting 550 pounds! What a workout! Not only that, but while bent forward like that you’re very vulnerable to predators. It would be impossible to run away quickly if a lion were to show up. Good thing you can store water like a camel and can go several days without drinking.
I was surprised to see the giraffes eating the thorny acacia trees. Just look at those long thorns! I learned that a giraffe has a very tough mouth and tongue to be able to deal with these. Plus they eat only the outer part of the branches where the thorns aren’t too big yet – very clever, eh?
While driving through the countryside, we often saw just a few giraffes hanging out together. We were delighted by this site of a herd of giraffes one afternoon. How many giraffes can you see in this photograph? Look carefully. There are more than you see at first glance.
I was interested to see that giraffe mommies look after their babies, just as mommies in most other animal species do. They keep them close and protect them against predators.
Looking closely at these photos and videos, what do you notice about a giraffe that you never knew before? How would the Serengeti ecosystem change if there were no giraffes living there?