October 10, 2012

Giraffe Baby Watch

If you know me, you probably know I'm crazy about giraffes.  I love to watch them, study them, talk about them, and write about them.  That's why I couldn't contain my excitement when I learned that Autumn, the female giraffe at The Greenville Zoo, is pregnant.  Giraffes gestate for fifteen months, and Autumn's delivery should be any day now.

Autumn, sleeping in barn

Many of Autumn's fans remain on giraffe baby watch.  The Greenville Zoo set up cameras through EarthCam.com.  You can watch Autumn in  the paddock or in the barn.  I can't stop watching!  I don't want to miss this birth.  Odds are, unfortunately, that I will miss it since I have other commitments, but I have the EarthCam app loaded on my iPad and iPhone.

For the first time yesterday, the zoo started running the cameras 24/7.  I sat up last night until I couldn't keep my eyes open watching her pace and eat.  Even my training students over the last two days watched Giraffe Cam during training breaks.  One student asked me if a giraffe born in captivity was a big deal, like the pandas.  I told him, "To me it's a big deal because I love giraffes."

I know I'm not alone.  A lot of people are watching and posting comments on the zoo's Facebook page.  The Greenville Zoo is a small zoo, and the giraffes are one of their biggest draws. 

At one point today, I thought it might be happening.  She bent at the knees and hunkered down a little.  A short while later, she laid down.  She's pacing up a storm, but I've seen the giraffes pace a lot over the years they've been at The Greenville Zoo.

So, I wait, along with many other fans.

Just for fun, here are a few giraffe facts:
  • A giraffe's neck has 7 vertebrae just like we do.
  • The giraffe's tongue is about 17-18 inches long.  They use it to pull leaves off of the acacia tree, which is a very thorny tree.  That's one long, tough tongue!
  • The giraffe has a 4-chambered stomach like a cow does, so sometimes they're chewing their cud.
  • Their jugular vein has several one-way valves that prevents the backflow of blood when they lower their neck.
  • Their spots are like fingerprints; each giraffe has a unique pattern
  • The female giraffes form kindergartens to care for the young.  One female stays with the young while the others forage for food.

AND in relation to today's blog,
  • A baby giraffe drops about six feet to the ground when born.  The newborn is about six feet tall, so that's not a a huge drop.  They're up and walking soon afterward.

1 comment:

Barbara V. Evers said...

9:10 am EST on Thursday, Oct. 11 - still no birth to report.