With all of us excitedly awaiting our mutual, virtual godchild – I thought it might be a good idea to start learning about our precious bundle of joy. First little tidbit is that the baby giraffe is called a calf. Having gained some extra weight due to Hashimoto’s I feel like a cow already… so yeah, I guess calf is appropriate! Oh and did you know the female IS actually called a cow and the male a bull?
But let’s get back to learning about our new “godcalf.” I can’t imagine a world without these beautiful, docile creatures!! Since the giraffes have gone extinct in many African regions already, I’m thrilled to see births in zoos.
Female giraffes give birth to live babies at about 14 months of gestation. (OH MY GOSH! And we thought nine months was hard!!) During birth, the baby calf drops to the ground, which can be six feet down… sometimes landing on its head. (Yeah. I know you are proud of me… I’m just not going to take that bait). This is the giraffe version of the whack on the rear. The calf is able to stand and walk quickly… usually within an hour of being born. And that little bundle of joy is big!! Newborn calves are close to 6 feet tall and weigh around 150 pounds! That is one big baby!
Large Bundle of Joy
And that little bundle of joy is not very little!! Newborn calves are close to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 150 pounds! That is one big baby! And they are not considered to be “grown up” until around four years old – they will grow their most in those early years. Male giraffes tend to be taller and weight almost double the females. Males can grow to be 18 feet tall with their weight as much as 3,000 pounds. Female giraffes are more petite-framed. They are shorter, only about 14 feet tall, and their weight as much as 1,500 pounds.
I’ve seen a couple of conflicting reports about when they start eating leaves. Most report that baby calves start eating leaves almost immediately and another says it is around 4 months of age. Either way, they are drinking their mom’s milk during the first twelve months or so of life for a good portion of their nourishment.
With all the attention focused on giraffes right now, it might be a great time to head to the zoo for an up-close visit with your locals! I love to use current events to spark my children’s curiosity about a topic. At our local zoo you can even feed the giraffes! Contact your zoo to see what hands-on or educational opportunities they might be offering right now. Or head up to NY and visit April and her baby.
Currclick has a pretty wide variety of unit studies, lapbooks, and notebooks on the giraffe subject!!
Here are a couple of giraffe books for children you might want to check out!