22 Facts That Will Change The Way You Look At Giraffes

What barely sleeps, drinks pee, and can stomp a lion to death?

1. The average length of a giraffe’s tongue is 20 inches. And they can grab things with it.

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2. Their tongues are black in color to prevent them from getting sunburnt. They actually stick their tongues out that much.

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3. Male giraffes will use their extremely long tongues to taste the pee of female giraffes to determine if they’re ovulating.

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4. Female giraffes are pregnant for 15 months.


How about a round of applause for lady giraffes?

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5. Giraffes sleep a maximum of two hours a day, and usually for under 10 minutes at a time.

Thinkstock/ Achim Prill

Constant vigilance!

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6. Giraffes have been recorded KICKING LIONS.

Who’s the king of the jungle now?

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7. Giraffes give birth standing up, which means the first thing a baby giraffe experiences is a six-foot-drop onto the cold, hard ground.

Buddhika Weerasinghe / Getty Images
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8. They are the only animals born with their horns, which are actually called ossicones.

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9. Giraffes fight by whipping their heads at each other.

Discovery Communications, Inc. / Via businessinsider.com

Presumably because head-butting would be just too civil.

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10. It’s extremely common for male giraffes to have sex with each other. Like extremely common. As in 50% of all male giraffes have no problem sexing up other male giraffes.

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11. They can sprint up to 35 miles per hour, which is pretty fast for an animal that is practically wearing stilts.

Just imagine one of these things loping toward you at a terrifying speed.

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12. And because their legs are so long, giraffes walk at 10 miles per hour without even trying.

Their leisurely stroll is your life-threatening marathon pace.

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13. The Latin word for giraffe is “camelopardalis,” which is a throwback to the Roman idea that they look like a hybrid between camels and leopards.

Thinkstock/ iSailorr/ Byrdyak/ kotomiti/ Alexis Nedd
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14. But giraffes can live without water longer than a camel can. At this point it’s OK to suspect that they’re indestructible.

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15. They’re probably a little tense: Their blood pressure is twice that of humans.

Thinkstock/ prapassong

The pressure is necessary to keep blood flowing all the way up to their heads.

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16. In fact, their system for regulating blood pressure has been replicated by aeronautical engineers for use in spacesuits.

Thinkstock/ 1971yes/ prapassong
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17. No two giraffes have the same pattern of spots, but giraffes that live in the same area tend to have similar coats.

Thinkstock/ Anup Shah
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18. Giraffe herds have almost no defined social structure or hierarchy.


They’re just like, “Whatever, we’re giraffes.”

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19. There is a hotel in Kenya that doubles as a giraffe sanctuary, where you can hang out with giraffes all day.

Visiting Kenya/Creative Commons / Via Flickr: kenyaphotos
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20. Umm Nyolokh is a substance made from the liver and bone marrow of a giraffe. If ingested, it allegedly produces giraffe-themed hallucinations.

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21. The only thing keeping the nine different species of giraffe from regularly interbreeding is rain. It disrupts their migration patterns.

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22. “Giraffe” is pronounced similarly in almost every language except for Cherokee, which calls them “digalisdugisgi.”

Thinkstock/ ulisse_1/ ultrapro/ vencavolrab/ Val Lawless/ Alexis Nedd
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