Topic – Giraffes

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Read about giraffes, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.


Long Necks, Legs, and Tongues

Giraffes are the tallest land animal on Earth. What makes them so tall? They have very long necks and legs. Even baby giraffes are tall. A newborn is taller than most adult humans.

Being tall lets giraffes eat leaves from the tops of trees. Lots of African animals eat leaves, but a giraffe is one of the few animals that can eat the leaves at the tops of trees.

A giraffe eats leaves by grabbing them with its very long tongue. The tongue of a giraffe is about six times longer than an adult human’s tongue! A long tongue makes it easier for giraffes to eat leaves.

Most of a giraffe’s tongue is a dark purple colour. The dark colour helps keep a giraffe’s tongue from getting sunburned. A giraffe would not want a sore, sunburned tongue because it spends 16 to 20 hours each day eating leaves.

Hunting Giraffes

Long, strong legs make giraffes very fast runners. There are only two creatures that hunt giraffes. One of these creatures is lions. A giraffe cannot run faster than a lion, but a giraffe can use its long legs to protect itself from a lion. A strong kick from a giraffe can hurt or even kill a lion.

The other creature that hunts giraffes is humans. People can make lots of money by selling the meat, skin, tail, and other parts of a giraffe. Every year, there are fewer giraffes left in the wild. In many countries in Africa, it is against the law for hunters to kill giraffes. But hunters continue to kill them anyway, even though the hunters could go to jail if they are caught. Hunters who break the law by killing certain animals are called poachers. It is difficult to find and catch poachers in the huge open spaces where giraffes live.

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