Last week, in a nod of respect to my New Years resolution to write more, I started writing a short story involving giraffes. It’s probably not as interesting as it sounds; if you’re thinking, for example, that it’s a story with talking giraffes, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you. (That does sound like a good read, though.) I was a giraffe for Halloween once, but I’m not sure I could put the right words in this particular animal’s mouth. I’m not even sure what a giraffe would sound like or who would listen–however, my guess would be the opposite of David Schwimmer, and anyone who’s smart enough.
There are actually no giraffes in the story, just a lot of conversation about them. I spent several hours, in the name of research, reading interesting facts about the giraffe. The trouble with this was that I got sucked down an internet rabbit hole and ended up spending my writing time surfing giraffe trivia. Most major city zoos have a special page of their websites devoted to the giraffe. In case you need some interesting dinner table conversation or unique pick-up lines (hey, it’d probably work on me), I’ll be glad to help you out:
The average giraffe tongue is about 20 inches (50 centimeters) long.
Female giraffes give birth standing up and babies can walk within hours after being born.
Giraffes can go weeks without drinking. They eat moisture-rich foods such as acacia leaves and usually seek water every few days, lowering themselves in a splay-legged drinking stance that leaves them vulnerable to predators.
Giraffes sleep only about a half-hour a day, and this time is usually broken up into about six five-minute naps.
I sort of just assumed that animal information on zoo websites was guaranteed fact. Since zoos are all about education and preservation, I figured that fact-checking would be a high priority. Most of the sites I visited had the same basic giraffe content. All except one, that is.
Which brings me to the chuckle I promised you. Thanks for hanging in there.
The Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, devotes a page of its website to the Baringo Giraffe. Among the giraffe information listed is this:
Giraffes can run 35 mph and can kick with all four legs at the same time.
Go ahead. Re-read it. I’ll wait.
Okay, now picture a giraffe kicking with all four legs at the same time and don’t laugh or smile.
IT CAN’T BE DONE!
Did you just envision a ninja giraffe kicking out at four different enemies while screaming “HI-YA”? Did you imagine a giraffe that looked something like a bear-skin rug?
Now, I have a feeling that this tid-bit of info is a mistake–but I’ll take my amusement any way I can get it.
This chuckle was brought to you by Oh My Words! and the Dickerson Zoo. You’re welcome.