HIMEJI, JAPAN - OCTOBER 16: An eleven day old newborn giraffe calf looks in his enclosure at Himeji Central Park on October 16, 2013 in Himeji, Japan. The baby giraffe was born on October 5, 2013 and stands over 170 cm tall. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

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I thought this week I’d stick my neck out and give you some amazing facts about a really tall animal — the giraffe.

If you’ve never seen one in person take a trip to the zoo nearest you or head over to Africa to check out one of nature’s most majestic mammals.

Fun Facts About Giraffes

  • It’s probably no surprise that the giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. The male of the species can grow as tall as 18 feet. Taller than the backboard on a basketball court.
  • The neck alone can measure up to six feet.
  • The tongue up to 21 inches.
  • What supports an animal that big? Dinner plate sized feet. At least 12 inches in diameter.
  • Since giraffes tower over other animals it make perfect sense that a group of giraffes would be called a “tower.”
  • As of today, no one has ever seen a giraffe swimming. Depending on the depth of the water they could just as easily be walking.
  • While you and I need a full eight hours of sleep each night to stay healthy, the giraffe gets by just fine with five to 30 minutes of shut eye every 24 hours.
  • That might account for the fact that giraffes never yawn either.
  • While giraffes are very capable of making sounds they choose not to. Maybe we should start electing giraffes to public office.
  • Most of the water giraffes take in comes from the vegetation they consume. They only need to drink water every few days.
  • Giraffes can go longer than camels without water.
  • The giraffe’s spot pattern is as distinctive as human fingerprints. No two giraffes have exactly the same pattern.
  • Africa, being the home of the tallest animal in the world — the giraffe, is also the home to the largest land animal — the elephant.
  • Having a six-foot neck is not really an advantage if your legs are too long for you to reach the ground. Giraffes must spread their front legs apart in order for their heads to reach the ground for grass or water.

Some Final Thoughts

Earth is home to millions of species but there are some that just seem to stand out from the others. If you had the chance to see a horse or giraffe you’d probably opt for the giraffe.

If we could just teach them to play basketball we’d really have something.

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