They’re tall. Verrry tall. Your child is small. Verrry small. Don’t worry though! Giraffes are gentle giants and safe for the little ones. When you go to the zoo I highly recommend stopping by the giraffe encounter and picking up a snack for one. The experience will be most memorable.
The first thing you’re likely to notice when you hold up a treat is how loooooooooong their tongues are! Their red, black, and purple chow chow-like tongues can grow up to 20 inches long and it kinda feels like a cat’s tongue when they lick you.
They really love vegetables and fruits, as well as cracker treats. They take pretty big bites so you may want to break your cracker in half so you get to go twice! Some of the really nice ones will actually let you pet them on their head. They’re all soft and feel kinda like a horse. They’re really quite majestic animals. Absolutely amazing that their necks being as long as they are have the same amount of vertebrae as we humans do.
When I just finished completing my bachelor’s degree I took off to Africa on the first flight I could. My mission? I was headed on my way to Tanzania for a wildlife ecology study on giraffes in the wild and what their diet was like. Considering there are only around 250 wild giraffes in the world, I felt like this was something that needed to be done so that the world’s tallest animal doesn’t go extinct in the wild. One of the things I witnessed was incredible, I saw giraffes fighting! Can you guess how? With their necks! They stand up against each other and swing their heads and necks into one another until one submits. Unfortunately I didn’t have a video camera with me so while I don’t have personal footage, you can check out this video and watch a couple duke it out.
At the zoo though you won’t have to worry about any giraffes trying to slam their head into you… well… as long as you aren’t poking and prodding at it’s face when it just wants a snack. Treat them with respect and give them their treat, hold your little ones up and let them get in on the action as well! I remember the first time I brought my son and he held out the cracker on his own. When the giraffe leaned in and it’s loooooong tongue zoomed out to take the treat, the smile on my son’s face just melted my heart. That was a moment that he and I will share for the rest of our lives, and I hope all of you readers one day can share that same bond. So go feed a giraffe already, what are you waiting for??