Monday, October 17, 2011

A Giraffe Nap

On a late afternoon game drive through Murchison Falls National Park, we spotted several giraffes lying down.  I have often wondered why giraffe's are not seen lying down often.  My curiosity got the better of me and I learned that giraffe's only sleep for about 30 minutes per day and these 30 minutes are broken up into several naps generally shorter than five minutes in length each.  During sleep, the giraffe lays down and curls it's neck back to rest on it's hind quarters.  Most of a giraffe's time is spent eating leaves from the acacia tree.  Using it's long 21 inch black tongue, it gently plucks the leaves from the acacia tree from between the acacia's large thorns.  An adult giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of acacia leaves a day and much like a cow, giraffe's have four stomachs and regurgitate their food to chew it as cud.  So basically a giraffe spends a lot of time eating, and very little time sleeping or laying around.  The next time I see a giraffe laying on the ground I will appreciate the relatively rare moment in the giraffe's day captured.

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