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The Giraffe - Taller Than a House?

Answering the Questions Children Ask

Kids ask the darndest questions. Ones that make you scratch your head and wonder why you don't have the answers. My 6 year-old daughter asked me "Are giraffes taller than houses?" I didn't know for sure, so we did some snooping and here was what we came up with.

How Tall Are They?

The giraffe is the tallest mammal alive and can grow up to 18 feet tall! In my daughter's eyes, that's three Grandpas stacked on top of one another. What a giggle that provoked!

A standard one story home is 8 feet tall on the inside, and on the outside, including the roof, is generally 12-15 feet tall. So in most cases, a giraffe IS taller than a house!

Did You Know?
Here are some other fun facts about giraffes. When you're finished, print out the giraffe coloring page and talk about these wild animals with your kids.

Body

  • The giraffe's heart weighs in at 24 pounds! That's as much as your 2 year old brother!
  • These animals have long, black tongues (up to 18 inches long!) that are used to grab the vegetation they eat from trees.
  • They use their hard heads as weapons by swinging their long necks at each other when fighting.
  • The spots on their legs and body camouflage them in the wild. Their spots are unique, just like your fingerprints.
  • Giraffes have excellent eyesight. Because of their tremendous height and their sharp eyes, they can spot predators easily. These animals run in herds and will run together for safety if need be.
  • Most giraffes weigh close to 1,800 pounds, though some can weigh up to 2 tons (4,000 pounds)! That's almost as heavy as the family mini-van!
  • Horns are found on both male and female Giraffes and they can have as many as five horns on their heads.
That's Incredible!
  • A giraffe can run up to 35 miles per hour when pursued by a predator.
  • They sleep in intervals of only 1-12 minutes at a time. Sounds like your baby sister, you say?
  • Each day, they spend 16-20 hours eating leaves off of trees and brush. This would explain their lack of sleep!
  • A giraffe can live for 20-25 years in the wild, but most only survive about 5 years.
Other Fun Facts
  • There is a bird called an Oxpecker that likes to help the giraffe by eating bugs that are on their backs.
  • Giraffes get most of the moisture they need from the leafy plants that they eat. Their body will allow them to go up to one month without water, but when they do finally get a drink, they can gulp down 12 gallons of water in one setting! Because of their long necks and legs, they must spread their legs wide or crouch down on their knees in order to get low enough to reach the water.
  • The giraffe is an endangered species that lives in the grasslands of Africa.
  • Male Giraffes are called bulls. Female Giraffes are called cows. When a cow gets pregnant, the expectant parents will have to wait 14-15 months before the baby arrives.
Special thanks to my darling 6 year-old for providing the inspiration for these pieces and for providing me, her Mom, the opportunity to learn more each day. Does your child have a question? askmom@thefamilycorner.com

© Amanda Formaro

BIO:

Amanda Formaro is the mother of four children. She and her husband live in southern Nevada. She is also the owner of familycorner.com magazine at http://familycorner.com | email her at: WebMom@familycorner.com

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