Although giraffes have extremely long necks, they only have seven cervical vertebrae, which is the same number found in humans. These vertebrae are elongated, giving the giraffe its extreme height. Each vertebrae may be over 10 inches long.
A:Melanin, which creates dark pigmentation in skin, is responsible for giraffe tongues' dark color. Although it is unknown exactly why giraffes have tongues that appear blue, purple and sometimes almost black, scientists believe that the animals' tongues have evolved this way for sun protection.
A:Giraffes have horns because they are used as weapons during inter-species conflicts. Male giraffes battle with other males for access to resources, such as food, water or mates. While both genders possess the horns, the horns of males lack the tufts of fur that female horns bear. This is because the fur and skin are worn off the male’s horns as they battle with other males.
A:Lions, leopards, crocodiles, wild dogs and hyenas prey on giraffes. The old, sick and very young giraffes are the most common victims. Giraffes' defenses are their speed, their ability to spot predators far away and their ability to deliver deadly kicks.
A:According to National Geographic, a giraffe can reach a height of 19 feet and can weigh as much as 2,800 pounds. Giraffes use their height to reach tall trees and other vegetation where they feed on leaves and buds. The 21-inch tongue of the giraffe assists in reaching difficult spots.
A:A male baby giraffe, or calf, stays with his mother for about 15 months after birth, while a female baby giraffe remains with her mother for approximately 18 months. Young males form groups with other males, but young females remain in the same herds as their mothers.
A:Giraffes are seldom heard, but they do make a variety of sounds. They grunt or snort to alert fellow herd members to danger. Other giraffe sounds include moos, snores, hisses and even flute-like noises.
A:Giraffes eat buds and leaves from vegetation. They forage from trees, bushes and shrubs, and occasionally dine on grass. The exact makeup of their diet varies with their immediate surroundings and the season; however, all giraffes are herbivores, relying entirely on plants for food.
A:Most giraffe species are currently endangered. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, there were an estimated 140,000 giraffes in African in 1999, but the number has declined to less than 80,000 giraffes today.
A:A giraffe's tongue appears to be black, purple or blue on the tip, and it is pink toward the throat and on the underside. The prehensile tongue is perfectly adapted to its favorite food, the leaves of the acacia tree. The dark coloration may protect the tongue from sunburn.
A:A giraffe's height is an evolutionary adaptation that allows it to feed from tall trees and other sources of vegetation. The long tongue of the giraffe, which can grow to 21 inches in length, is a similar adaptation designed for reaching difficult spots.
A:Giraffes primarily communicate with each other using infrasonic sounds and vibrations, much like dolphins and some whales. Although giraffes are among the tallest mammals on the planet, they are some of the most silent. Giraffes rarely utter vocal sounds, although they occasionally interact with each other via grunts or high-pitched whistle-like cries.
A:Giraffes can sit down, but they rarely do. Due to their peculiar shape and structure, giraffes are not commonly found sitting, as it would create an imbalance in their bodies due to their long, heavy necks.