G is for Giraffe
Luckily only one sub-species of beautiful giraffe is listed as endangered. Giraffes are the tallest and yet still the most elegant and one of the most graceful animals on earth. They have been around and are in the fossil record for 1.5 million years.
Giraffes have incredibly long necks – I suspect you have noticed. This causes problems for them physically, which have been overcome with extraordinary adaptations. Their hearts are not massive, as was once thought. They are relatively small, but very thick-walled, and they can beat with supercharged beats to push blood up to the giraffes’ heads.
Which means their brains (atop long necks, atop tall bodies, on stilt-like legs) are well supplied with blood for keeping watch for predators on the horizon. Of course they can see much better than any of the other animals below them, and other herds of mammals graze near them to take advantage of their abilities in this matter. They can see in colour.
Each type of giraffe living in a different area has a different coat pattern, which grows darker with age, and in each area, no two giraffes’ coats are the same. The coat markings are thought to have evolved as a camouflage response, and the markings break up the body outline so they look less like a giraffe and melt in with the trees and scenery behind them.
The giraffe sub-species (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. peralta) is classified by the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species as Endangered, as it exists only in the wild and there are fewer than 200 of them. Threats to giraffes include habitat degradation and poaching.
I have a shape poem and information about them in my book – Animal Magic. Today, another of my shape poems, about a sea star, is featuring on Gregory K’s blog, gottabook, 30 days/30 poets – 30 mainly well-known poets’ new unpublished poems – see it here: Gregory K.
Read more about the giraffe here: Wikipedia. Heart facts information above came from: Professor Graham Mitchell, Emeritus Professor of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming. Giraffes and poetry, emails to Liz Brownlee 14th, 16th, 19th September 2011.
If you’d like to ‘blog hop’ to another blog doing the A-Z challenge, click here: A-Z Challenge.
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