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  1. Find more animals like this
  2. Giraffes Are Awesome! by Lisa J. Amstutz
  3. Why Do Giraffes Have Long Necks?
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You know they're tall—the tallest mammals in the world, in fact—but here are 20 other fun facts about these leggy herbivores. Giraffes only need to drink water once every couple of days. They get most of their water from their plant-based diet—which is good considering their height makes the process of drinking difficult and, if a lion happens upon a drinking giraffe, even dangerous.

Female giraffes often return to where they were born to give birth. Once there, their calves receive a rough welcome into the world, falling over five feet to the ground. Fortunately, baby giraffes can stand up and even run within a hour of being born. Giraffes' tongues can be up to 20 inches long and are darkly colored, which is thought to help protect them during frequent sun-exposure.

Giraffes usually stay upright while sleeping and if they do settle into a vulnerable position on the ground, it's just for a quick six-minute nap. Giraffes have hair-covered horns called ossicones—but only males use them for fighting each other. Giraffes require over 75 pounds of food a day—and with a diet of leaves, this means they spend most of their time eating.

The giraffe's scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis , comes from the ancient Greeks' belief that it looked like a camel wearing a leopard's coat. Despite their characteristic long necks, giraffes actually have the same number of neck vertebrae as humans—just seven. Each individual vertebra is super-sized, measuring up to ten inches long. Because of their unusual shape, giraffes have a highly-specialized cardiovascular system that starts with an enormous heart.

It's two feet long and weighs up to 25 pounds. Additionally, the jugular veins contain a series of one-way valves that prevent excess blood flow to the brain when the giraffe lowers its head to drink. Amstutz is the author of more than 30 nonfiction books for children and many magazine and newspaper articles.

Her background includes a B. She loves sharing amazing facts about science and nature with kids. Select the product information you'd like to include in your Excel file and click [Export to Excel]. Please login to add to cart.

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Giraffes Are Awesome! by Lisa J. Amstutz

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    Why Do Giraffes Have Long Necks?

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    This title covers these subjects: Animals -- Africa. Alternative Views. Dewey