Going Wild: Giraffes at the Honolulu Zoo

Published On: Mar 28 2014 08:30:00 PM HST

They have that distinct patchwork pattern of their fur, but one thing stands out when you see Giraffes is that they stand tall.

Click here to watch Ashley Moser's report.

Let's face it, giraffes are hard to miss! The king-sized mammals can get up to 20 feet tall and completely tower over all other land animals.

"In the wild they are a lookout animal. A lot of heard animals, smaller heard animals, tend to heard with them because if they see a predator, they're alarmed at the same time," said a Honolulu Zoo keeper.

Native to Africa, giraffes are believed to have adapted to their habitat over time. They have grown inches and inches over millions of years, so that they would be able to reach food that their competitors could not.

With an average of eight feet long, people often wonder how many vertebrae are in a giraffe's neck. Well it is simple. They are just like humans and have seven vertebrae. The only difference is that each vertebra in their neck is ten inches long.

With a neck that long, giraffes are eye-level with juicy, green trees.

"The leaves, they have a lot more moisture in it. So a lot of leaves means a lot of moisture and they get to drink less water," said the zoo keeper.

They are also not shy about eating tree bark. Keepers say eating that part of the tree is actually good for their health. It helps to deplete their iron storage.

The utensil giraffes use is hard to miss.

"They have these long blue tongues that extend about 21 inches," said the zoo keeper.

Keepers say the blue color prevents their tongues from being sun burned from the Hawaiian sun.

Even though they are thousands of miles from their natural environment, Keepers say giraffes are not too far from the weather they are used to as long as they get 365 days a year outside.

"It tends to have them strive and live a long life here," said the zoo keeper.

Zoo keepers say giraffes are not an endangered species yet, but slowly humans are pushing them into smaller parts of their natural habitats.


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