Today was the best day ever! I got to feed the giraffes at the zoo!
This summer, our zoo started this program of giraffe feeding. For $5, you are given a really big handful of romaine lettuce. You climb up a pretty tall platform that puts you at head level with the giraffes and then have the most amazing experience ever!! They are very sweet and patient. They nuzzle against you and wait patiently for your lettuce. Their tongue is very rough, and feels much like sandpaper. And it is the longest tongue!! They do not mind rubbing up against you, but they do not like it if you reach out and try to touch them. According to the zookeeper, since the giraffes so rarely have any living organism near their head, the sight of your hand coming toward their face is disturbing to them.
A few giraffe facts for you:
- Giraffes eat about 75 pounds of leaves everyday. They spend 16 to 20 hours a day eating.
- The giraffe's tongue is 18 inches long!
- Although it is usually for them to make any sounds, they can moo, hiss, roar or whistle to communicate with one another. (We heard no sounds.)
- They have the longest tail of any animal. It can reach a length of 8 feet.
- Their heart is two feet long and can weigh 25 pounds.
- They have the highest blood pressure of any animal. Their blood pressure averages 280/180 and the heart beats 170 times per minute.
- The heart pumps 16 gallons of blood per minute.
- Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world, reaching heights of 16 to 18 feet.
- Males can weigh 2000 pounds.
- The only real predator to a giraffe is a lion, but the giraffe can easily use its hooves to defend itself.
- The giraffe can run 30 to 35 miles per hour.
- Gestation period is 15 months.
- Life expectancy is 25 years.
This was an incredible experience. If you ever get the opportunity to feed giraffes, you must do it!!