What is the main feature of a giraffe? How the years of evolution and nature helped the giraffe to become more adapted to live comfortably? Find out more about the mysterious world of giraffes in this article.
Fascinating facts about giraffes
Giraffes are the highest of the existing mammals of the planet. These animals reach 4 to 6 meters in height and have an unusually beautiful and unique color. Even in a single stage, you will not find two individuals with the same pattern or shade of hair.
Giraffes live in the vast wilderness and in captivity. The period of life lasts from 25 to 28 years. The main habitat for them is the African savannah. Some species, such as reticulated giraffe, can be found in Somalia, Kenya, and woodlands.
These animals are largely astonishing, beginning with their size and unusual buildings, finishing with the unknown details.
Not only the size, the color and the presence of small horns covered with wool, makes giraffes special. Giraffe sleeps only standing, running speed up to 50 km/h, and the newborn calf falls from a height of 2 meters. Some people heard that giraffes have the unusual tongue color but do giraffes have blue tongues really? There are plenty of pictures of giraffes tongues on the Net but what if it’s just a Photoshop? Let’s discuss all the curious facts about these mammals.
Few people know that a giraffe has an awful smell. His stench is felt for 800 feet! In addition to the ability to attract females, it performs a more practical function. The smell plays a role of a repellent against parasites and kills many bacterium and fungal organisms, grazing giraffe’s skin. Smell is also used to repel blood-sucking ticks. So for a giraffe, a bad stench is just the sign of health and cleanliness. Most of their life giraffes spend on searching food or chewing gum. Their favorite food, acacia, has thorns so sharp that most animals prefer to bypass this tree. Upper neck joint allows the giraffe to raise its head vertically and consume the young, that has not yet had time to get spiked, leaves at the very top of the tree. Amazingly, thanks to the evolution, acacia learned to deal with uninvited guests. They secrete a chemical that gives their leaves caustic bitterness. They also emit a smell, warning of the danger of all the neighbors. Giraffes, in turn, try to approach the acacia against the wind. The next most important tool after the neck of a giraffe is their tongue. Its length is enough to clean the ears. The tongue is used by giraffes so often that it has acquired black and blue color. This helps to avoid sunburn. The acacia leaves consist of 70% of water, so the giraffes almost do not feel the need to drink.
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The giraffe tongues are also unique. The tongue is a huge and powerful muscle, reaching up to 45 centimeters in length. The color of the tongue is unusual: it is completely blue, sometimes purple or even black.
Giraffe tongue length for a long time caused confusion among researchers. The long neck of the animal let him pluck the leaves of acacia. It is a favorite delicacy in the savannah. The mammal can reach even the top of the tree, so the long tongue is not for that. However, as it turned out, the tongue has an excellent grasp reflex, just twisting in a spiral in contact with food in the mucosa. It is able to bend around the huge plant and avoid spikes, tearing and holding juicy leaves just with the very tip.
The ability to finely control their own tongue often saves the life of a giraffe in a drought. This happens because the low-growing animals actively eat the lower leaves and grass. They are ready to defend their right to survive violently. Giraffe can eat only that leaves that no one can get beside of them.
Features of the structure
The color of the giraffes cannot be repeated, it is akin to a print of human fingers.
Why do giraffes have blue tongues? The blue color is due to the unusual structure of the animal itself. Due to the high growth of the giraffe, its circulatory system is overloaded, the heart of the mammal is incredibly strong and provides the body with the pressure that is almost three times higher than that of a human being. The blood of a giraffe is very thick; the density of blood cells is twice higher than in humans. In addition, the jugular vein has a special valve that interrupts the flow of blood to maintain a stable pressure in the main artery. Thus, we can conclude that the blood vessels that are in their tongue are denser and darker than in many usual mammals, and instead of the reddish, mucous turn dark, almost purple.
We must say that the blood of a giraffe, too, is significantly different in appearance from the usual (men's). Due to the high content of red blood cells and reactive oxygen compounds, blood is very dark, almost maroon. That is why not only the tongue has a specific color, but also the internal organs of this giant mammal.
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