One of my very favorite animals, I have always loved giraffes ~ tallest and among the most beautiful and intriguing animals the world has ever known. They have fascinated people since ancient times. The beloved Akeem (full size), a reticulated giraffe, also known as a Somali giraffe native to Africa, have individual patterns of spots. Over 16’ tall, he was 24 when he died in 2012 of old age after a wonderful life an ambassador for his species. Giraffes are considered especially long lived for ruminants, and can live up to 25 years in the wild, when protected.
Somali giraffes are native to northeastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia. They thrive in savannas, grasslands and open woodlands, browsing especially on the twigs of the Acacia, myrrh, and bush willow trees and shrubs. Like other ruminants, their stomachs have four chambers and their intestines measure over 250’ in length! Their long tongues are tough enough to navigate acacia thorns, and black to prevent sunburn. They eat fruits as well as leaves and twigs. The average weight of males is about 3,500 pounds and females weigh in at around 1,800 pounds.
A giraffe’s heart can weigh more than 25 pounds, which beats rather fast at about 150 beats per minute. Their neck vertebrae can be nearly a foot tall. Giraffes are mostly quiet animals and they live in communities that are loosely structured and ever changing. Some are quite social.
May our hearts grow in love for all species.