Today I want to write about one of my favorite animals, the Giraffe.
If you have had the opportunity to watch giraffe walking you would agree, it moves with such amazing grace and gentleness that few animals can match. Watching giraffes roam in the vast African Savannah spaces, I often marvel at the astonishing design and engineering feat God must have engaged to create this exceptional animal.
The giraffe is the world's tallest mammal standing on average at 16-18 feet for a fully grown adult. It's beautiful spotted fur coat is very distinctive and no two coats are alike. An adult giraffe’s head is about six feet above its body. They walk in groups of 3-10 mostly. Its interesting I found out that paintings of giraffes were discovered on early Egyptian tombs.
I am lucky I live near a Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, Kenya and a National Park so I can get to see this beautiful animal in both places. At the Giraffe Centre the animals are in an enclosure. The guides give you a handful of pellets from a bucket to feed the animals.
So you place the pale grey molasses pellet between your lips and the gentle giraffes lean down and softly and swiftly withdraws it from your mouth. You will feel the rough tongue which is antiseptic tongues and about 20 feet long (50 cm!). So no worries for the adventurous individuals. The giraffe's tongue is equipped with thickened papillae and thick saliva to protect their mouths because their main vegetation of choice, the Acacia tree, is thorny.
The tongue's dark bluish or purplish color is designed to to prevent sunburn. This makes sense when you consider that giraffes spend most of their day feeding and sticking their tongues out to grass shoots and leaves and therefore exposing their tongue to the harsh African sun.
There are mainly two large sub-species of giraffes, the Reticulated and the Rothschild giraffes, so called after the British zoologist Walter Rothschild.
Sadly the giraffe is an endangered animal with its numbers dipping from about 150,000 in 1985 to under 100,000 in 2017. In future posts I may try to reach out to Steemians here to help fight the extinction of this beautiful creature for our future generations.