animal

10 Things You Don’t Know About Giraffe Pregnancy, Labor, And Newborns

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

When any animal brings new life into this world, it truly is a miracle.

It is so amazing to watch an animal give birth, because everything is left to nature and instinct.

There are no pain medications, no hospitals, and no doctors or nurses to wash off the baby after the labor is over.

In the wild, it’s just mama on her own.

With all the recent hubbub surrounding April the giraffe and her labor, folks all around are wondering what happens during and after a giraffe birth. This is no surprise, as giraffes truly are amazing and majestic animals. There’s no reason not to love them, and every reason to want to know all about them!

These 10 things surrounding giraffe labor will give you a better understanding about what goes on when a mama giraffe is expecting to bring a new baby into the world. Every animal gives birth in a slightly different way, but giraffe labor is definitely very unique.

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1. Giraffes Are Pregnant For 15 Months

giraffe

Giraffes carry their babies for just about 15 months, or 453 to 464 days, a very specific number reported by Animal Planet. Can you imagine carrying a baby for that long?

2. Newborns Are As Tall As A Full-Grown Man

baby giraffe

Newborn giraffes clock in at an average six feet tall at birth. This sounds absurd, but when you remember that giraffes are the tallest land animal in the world, it all starts to make sense.

3. Mom Gives Birth Standing Up

giraffe standing up

Mama giraffes give birth standing up, which means that the baby will fall a total of about six feet. That seems like a long way down, but this is how the amniotic sac breaks and the umbilical cord breaks. Plus, it encourages baby to take her first breath.

4. Baby Giraffes Need To Be Ready For A Chase

lioness

Baby giraffes born out in the wild need to be ready to escape predators, which is one of the reasons that the gestation period is so very long. The baby is ready to be largely autonomous relative to human babies, who can’t even hold their own heads up. That’s thanks to all of that time spent cooking in the oven, so to speak.

5. Baby Giraffes Weigh As Much As The Complete Oxford English Dictionary

heavy baby giraffe

Baby giraffes weigh in at 150 pounds, which is the same amount as all the words in the entire English language in book form. For some perspective, your bedroom dresser probably weighs less, and your full-grown bloodhound, a very big dog, only weighs about 100 pounds.

6. The Baby Giraffe Shares A Name With The Baby Cow

6. The Baby Giraffe Shares A Name With The Baby Cow

Just like cows, a baby giraffe is called a calf. Two very different animals, same name. In the same vein, female giraffes are called cows, and males are called bulls.

7. Babies Are Walking Within The Hour

baby giraffe walking

Giraffe babies are walking within the hour of coming into the world, and running before they are even a day old.

8. Dad Giraffes Have Nothing To Do With Labor Or Baby-Rearing

male giraffe

Adult male giraffes don’t have anything to do with the bringing-up of their babies, so once the female is pregnant, they go back to their separate lives.

9. Laboring Moms Hide Their Condition For As Long As Possible

giraffe labor

In order to not appear more vulnerable to predators, laboring moms will hide their signs for as long as possible. As with the case of April (the giraffe superstar), this makes it hard to tell when a giraffe is laboring until she goes into active labor, or until the hooves show. Early labor could last for days.

10. The Calf Will Begin Nursing As Soon As She Stands

10. The Calf Will Begin Nursing As Soon As She Stands

After that six-foot plummet to the ground, that baby giraffe is going to be hungry. She will start nursing from her mother as soon as she can stand up on those spindly legs of hers.

Did you know any of this about giraffe labor and birth? Please SHARE with your family and friends on Facebook!