11 Facts About Giraffes

1. Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth. Their legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet.

2. They can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances, or cruise at 10 mph over longer distances.

3. A giraffe's neck is too short to reach the ground. As a result, it has to awkwardly spread its front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water.

4. Giraffes only need to drink once every few days. Most of their water comes from all the plants they eat.

5. Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young falls more than 5 feet to the ground at birth.

6. Giraffes learn to stand just 30 minutes after birth and can run with their mothers just 10 hours after birth.

7. A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints. No two individual giraffes have exactly the same pattern.

8. A giraffe's feet are the size of a dinner plate—approximately 12 inches across. Females use their hooves as weapons to protect their young. They are strong enough to kill a lion, the giraffe's only predator aside from humans.

9. Both male and female giraffes have two distinct, hair-covered horns called ossicones. Male giraffes use their horns to sometimes fight with other males.

10. Giraffes, like cows, are a ruminant, which means they have more than one stomach to help them digest their food. In fact, they have 4 stomachs!

11. The age of a giraffe can be calculated from its spots. The darker the spots, the older the giraffe.