Meet our featured animal: the giraffe!
Here are five fun facts about giraffes:
- At an average height of around 5 m (16-18 ft.), the giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world.
- Many people first believed the giraffe was a cross between a leopard and a camel, which is reflected in its scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis.
- Giraffes have long tongues which help them pull leaves from trees.
- Both male and female giraffes have skin-covered knobs, called ossicones, on the top of their heads. Male ossicones are bald at the top, while female ossicones have tufts of fur.
- When giraffes walk, they move both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side; this is unique to giraffes. However, they run in a similar style to other mammals, swinging their rear legs and front legs in unison.
Learn more at our giraffe facts page!
Excitement continues at the Memphis Zoo with the birth of a baby reticulated giraffe on May 16. The male giraffe calf, named Tamu Massif (tam-MOO mah-SEEF), weighs 150 pounds. He is the fifth calf for mother Marilyn.
“Tamu is doing incredibly well,” says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “He’s happy and healthy. Marilyn is a great, experienced mother, so she’s taking this all in stride.”
The giraffe’s name means “sweet giant”. It is also the name of a dormant, underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean.
Busch Gardens experienced a baby boom this spring!
There were three reticulated giraffes born on March 12, 14, and 18 to mothers Bititi, Tequiza, and Celina. At birth, the two female calves were 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed over 100 pounds. The male calf was more than 6 feet tall and weighed nearly 150 pounds! The females will eventually grow to be about 16 feet tall, and the male will be 18 feet tall. (Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth!)
Within an hour of being born, all the calves were standing up. And within two hours, they were all nursing! For now, the babies will reside behind-the-scenes, but in the coming weeks they will be on view on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain.
For more information, visit the Busch Gardens website.
To learn more about giraffes, visit our giraffe facts page.
What a wonderful year it’s been for adorable baby animals! Here are a few highlights:
Most Eager Eyes: Pictured below is one of two female lion cubs who were born at Busch Gardens on March 20. The cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are recognized for their large size and impressive manes on the males.
Best Peek-a-Boo: Max, a little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur), was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa.
Most Spiky: The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed a North American porcupette (baby porcupine) on April 18. Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators.
Best Hugger: This baby bonobo was born on May 12 at the Memphis Zoo. In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered.
Rare Birth: King is an Eastern black rhinoceros born at the Lincoln Park Zoo on August 26. In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.
Cutest Snout: Meet Gabana, a baby giant anteater born at the Nashville Zoo on November 16. In the wild, giant anteaters inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN.
Hope you enjoyed our roundup of cute animal babies of 2013. Happy New Year!
In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo! At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.
Masai giraffes are one of nine different sub-species and are known for their oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.
Toronto Zoo welcomed a baby Masai giraffe last month. The female calf was named Mstari (pronounced mi-starry), which means “stripes” in Swahili, after her late father who was called Stripes. The baby giraffe and her mother Twiga are doing very well.
“The Toronto Zoo is part of the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the birth of this calf is very important to the North American captive population”, says Maria Franke, Toronto Zoo Curator of Mammals. This is the 17th Masai giraffe born at the Toronto Zoo.
Photo by Ken Ardill, Toronto Zoo.
Twiga, a 23-year-old Masai giraffe at the Toronto Zoo gave birth yesterday to a baby female calf!
“The Toronto Zoo is part of the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the birth of this calf is very important to the North American captive population,” says Maria Franke, Toronto Zoo Curator of Mammals.
To learn more about giraffes, see our giraffe facts page.
The live cam is installed behind the scenes in the giraffe barn and allows the public to watch the calf nursing, bonding with mom and doing what babies do… sleeping. The best viewing times for the live cam are between 4pm and 10am PST.
For more info, see the Woodland Park Zoo blog.
Learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts page!
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington welcomed a male baby giraffe on August 6. The newborn calf is already 6 feet tall and weighs 144 pounds. When fully grown, he should reach 18 feet tall!
For more photos and videos, see the Woodland Park Zoo’s blog.
To learn more about giraffes, see our Giraffe Facts article.