Kinda Tall ~ More Vintage Shots From The Old Africa Album

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Being the world’s tallest mammal and with the longest neck means giraffes have no problem nibbling parts of trees that others cannot reach. But when it comes to taking a drink, things can be more than a little tricky.

To reach the water a giraffe must spread its  front legs wide and lower its head between them – not only a vulnerable position at a watering hole where there may be many lurking predators, but also a manoeuvre that involves some serious biological mechanics. For one thing, a giraffe’s head is between 2 and 3 metres (7-10ft) above its heart. To prevent it from fainting when it raises its head from drinking, its arteries and veins come equipped with valves to stop the blood rushing to its head.

And in order not to challenge this system more than is necessary, giraffes can go for extended periods without drinking so long as there is plenty of succulent foliage to consume. The moisture gained from the leaves is then conserved through limited defecation. They excrete only hard small droppings.

The giraffe in the first photo is of the Masai variety, distinguished by the irregular ‘butterfly’ markings. Their main habitat range is Southern Kenya and Tanzania. To the north you find the Reticulated giraffe, slightly smaller, and darker in colour, and with those lovely blocky markings. They inhabit dry bush country and are even less dependent on water than their Masai cousins. This one was spotted on the Lewa Downs Conservancy in northern Kenya.

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KindaSquare #8

18 thoughts on “Kinda Tall ~ More Vintage Shots From The Old Africa Album

  1. Giraffes are such beautiful, amazing creatures and your photos are lovely. I knew about the different markings, but had never thought about the difficulties of reaching water.

  2. That was fun – learning about giraffes. They’re such unique creatures. I have a memory of camping somewhere in Africa (probably Kenya or Tanzania) and of giraffes wandering by our camp. I long to go back.
    Alison

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