It's a Giraffe's Life!
We've seen what bears are up to, we've documented the sinister exploits of dogs and cats eager to kill you (and do away with each other, for good measure). We've considered other animals for the next funny picture collection, when... all of a sudden - GIRAFFE!!
...asking "What's for breakfast?" -
This is the Giraffe Manor in Langata, Kenya (more info). The five-room mansion is arranged so that giraffes can pay you a visit wherever and whenever they like!
Little giraffe's getting a nice hairdo:
Giraffes appeared on the scene around 8 million years ago (in South-Central Europe!), and back then they had many various kinds (genera) in the family; today the only two living species of the Giraffidae family are giraffe and okapi. Also, giraffes lived in Asia, as well as Africa, during prehistoric times. They can see in color, and can close their nostrils against sand storms and ants... and the skin of the giraffe is actually gray (beneath all of this glorious fur patchwork).
All discombobulated! -
The image above shows the long and mighty giraffe's tongue in all its "glory". Giraffe's tongue can be as long as half a meter! 50cm, or 20 inches... It was actually designed to pick the animal's nose (which is convenient, as giraffes don't have hands for that).
The tongue is "slightly bluish purple with bristly hairs for eating around acacia thorns.":
(images via 1, 2)
A gentle touch:
Every giraffe has a unique spot pattern, similar to uniqueness of fingerprints in humans, or turtle shell's designs. The dark spots of giraffe's coat are actually considered to be "windows" for thermoregulation (containing large sweat glands). Giraffes are very "aromatic" (they all have a very specific smell around them), due to parasite repellant chemicals in their fur.
Getting into places:
This giraffe seems to be pretty confused, as well:
"I am not here!" -
Is it just me, or it seems an awkward pose? Must be hard for giraffe to bend down to the water... -
The name "giraffe" literally means "fast walker" in Arabic and some African languages... and this giraffe doing a bit of drifting (probably going a bit too fast?) -
(image credit: Yulia Voinich)
What are these horn-like protuberances on the giraffe's head? They are called Ossicones (a sort of a climate-thermoregulating device) and differ from horns and antlers in that they are covered in so-called "velvet" (skin and fur) and do not show exposed horn tissue.
(image credit: Andrei Sheremet)
Here are some photoshopped "giraffe activities":
(left image credit: Sebastian Niedlich)
Even giraffes need a little laundry (dry cleaning?) from time to time:
(part of "undress a giraffe in Photoshop" tutorial here)
The Circle of Life! -
(image credit: Matt West)
This beautiful dance of the giraffe was captured (and subtly manipulated) by photographer Matt West and is available as print on Red Bubble.
Giraffes having plenty of fun! -
(image credit: Klaas Leussink)
This is NOT the way to transport a giraffe! -
Sculptural giraffe apparitions (another "Red Invasion" in St.Petersburg):
(images via 1, 2)
And finally, we have to say that giraffe is actually very beautiful animal... big eyes, lovely long eyelashes, great humble and friendly demeanor (unless they are not in a rut, or fighting). I think this is my favorite African animal. Salvador Dali would agree.