The giraffe is the tallest animal on the planet, and as such is uniquely adapted to access vegetation higher up in the tree canopy that other, smaller browsers cannot reach. Despite their ridiculously long necks, they actually only have 7 vertebrae – the same number as humans and most other mammals.
Although giraffes drink water when it is available, they can survive where it is scarce, obtaining their liquid quota from the vegetation they eat. They occasionally eat grass and fruits of various trees and shrubs, but their primary food source is the acacia tree. As a deterrent to being eaten, acacia branches are covered with daunting, sharp thorns. These thorns do not discourage giraffes, however, because giraffes have long, thick, muscular, prehensile tongues that can gather and slide foliage off the branch. Their tongues can be more than 50 centimeters long (about 20 inches - almost 2 feet). They also have thick saliva that protects their mouths from the thorns. Giraffe also sometimes break a branch off and munch the whole thing – thorns and all!
Giraffes are selective feeders and although they forage for 16 to 20 hours a day, they may actually consume only about 65 pounds of foliage during that time, and they can even maintain themselves on as little as 15 pounds of foliage per day.
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
If You Love Us,
Make A Donation!
All Photos on This Blog are Available as Frame-worthy Prints to Thank Our Generous Donors.
Email Us for Details of this Offer.