Giants of the plains

With long rough tongues, these guys can comfortably go through about 30kg of leaves a day, tearing leaves and buds off their stems, which is garnished with prickly thorns. While they eat a lot, they can go for weeks without water, rivalling the camel’s ability to tolerate periods of drought.

The tallest land animal on earth is not only large, but fast, and can run at speeds of up to 60kmh/37mph for short periods- handy when running away from their main predators, lion, and hyena.

These large, elegant beauties are also very quiet. I’ve never heard one speak, though I wish one that I had a close encounter with, who was hiding in the bushes while watching me, did. Unbeknownst to me, he had crept closer to assess the danger, and after his evaluation, this giant decided to bolt down the hill like there was no tomorrow- which is when I realised he was there- heavy hooves pounding on the dirt, missing me by only metres, and leaving dust in its trail. A few seconds later, a female followed suit and ran down the same route. While my heart felt like it was about to come out of my chest, I realised if I hadn’t stopped walking, I would have collided with this fast, approximately 1900kg heavyweight champ. Though they were panicky and in flight, I felt completely graced by their poise and elegance. They’re only about 3 feet shorter than the Tyrannosaurus Rex- and in that moment, I really did feel like a dinosaur had just scraped past me.

Our world is blessed with a wide diversity of creatures. Although giraffes don’t seem to command as much attention as others for some reason, I think they are one of the most beautiful creatures out there.

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