La Terre des Origines
The giraffe lookout
They are unconditionally linked to the primal image of Africa. In Pairi Daiza they are among the favourites of the public, especially since the introduction of the Explorer, which is a unique platform where you can see the giraffes eye to eye, even though they are up to 5.80 m high. The animals are exclusively vegetarian, so you do not have to fear a nasty bite. From this position you will undoubtedly question why these animals have such long necks, while its cousin, the okapi, which has more normal dimensions, can equally well sustain itself.
Giraffa camelopardalis evolved from an ordinary grass eater to a connoisseur with an absolute preference for tender leaf shoots that are located high up in the trees and through natural selection, the higher the neck of the animal the more specific is its the diet.
It is the tallest animal in the world, being able to measure, in large males, not far from 6 m, with a weight of 1,500 kg. Its long neck, adaptation to its diet, consists of the same number of vertebrae as for man : 7 in all, but the giraffes’ vertebrae are 40 cm long! Its very long tongue allows it to reach the little acacia leaves that are surrounded by terrible thorns. To pump the blood in its body, in particular up to its brain, the giraffe has a very powerful heart, weighing 11 kg.
An adult fears only the lion and even then… it is able to kill it with a blow of its hoof. Young giraffes, for their part, are vulnerable if they stray too far, because lions, hyenas and leopards are lying in wait.
After a 15-month gestation period, the female gives birth standing up, with the baby giraffe falling 2 m to the ground. In one hour, it has to be able to stand up and to suckle running by its mothers’ side.
In Pairi Daiza, you can observe:
Juul (female - 11/01/2011)
Oliver (male - 1/08/2016)
Kongo (male - 25/10/2003)
The giraffe lookout in image
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