My how long your neck is!
Despite its great length, the structure of a giraffe’s neck is very similar to that of other mammals. They have the same number of vertebrae as humans (7), only their neck bones are elongated and much larger than ours.
A deadly kick
The hooves of a giraffe can be the same diameter as an adult human head. They can kick in most directions to defend themselves and their young. Giraffes have enough strength in one kick to kill a lion.
Giraffe have a tongue which can measure up to 45cm long! This is used to pick off the leaves, shoots and buds of many African trees that have long, sharp thorns. Giraffe spend most of their day grazing. The tongue’s blue colouration acts like sunscreen, which is highly necessary.
Go with the flow
To drink water a giraffe must splay its front legs and bend at the knees. When their head is down a valve helps to regulate blood flow in order to prevent brain damage (and head spins!). Due to the length of their neck, a great deal of pressure is needed for blood to reach the brain (double the blood pressure of other large mammals).
Sharp as a tack
With the largest eyes of any land mammal giraffe have great eyesight and can see clearly up to 2km away. They perceive colour.
Come and meet us
You can meet our Giraffe at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo.