Tanzania: Ruaha NP – Maasai Giraffes
Besides spectacular baibab landscape Ruaha National Park surprised with the sheer numbers of majestic giraffes everywhere. The species abundant here is the Maasai giraffe, characterized by its irregular jigsaw-puzzle-like pattern, found in southern Kenya and most of Tanzania. With only about 32,000 left in the wild, these are quite endangered, and in Ruaha we easily saw over a 100 of them if not more, many with small giraffe babies, shorter then human height. Male giraffes are typically larger and often have darker coats, reaching up to 5.9m/19ft high. Both male and female giraffes have horns called ossicones, which in fact are just cartilage without any bones. Also interestingly, giraffe’s long neck has the same number of vertebrae as humans. Giraffes can see in color, unlike many other hoofed animals. Giraffes can run as fast as 55 km/h over short distances. Giraffes get most of their water needs from leaves and need to drink only about once or twice per week. Giraffes can sleep and give berth while standing, they actually need only about 15 minutes of sleep per day. Adult giraffes are almost apex animals and have no predators, baby giraffes on the other hand have a very low survival rate and a hunted by lions, leopards, and wild dogs. The spots on their skin are like human fingerprints and unique for every animal. Amazing animals that you can watch for hours and never get enough.