Predatory lions, speedy cheetahs or meandering elephants; ask what someone’s favourite animal is and you’ll hardly ever hear the humble giraffe named. They just aren’t one of the big ticket animals on the African safari checklist.
With their gangly legs and stretched necks they do look rather ridiculous and I must say that the bus ride through the African savannah at Werribee Zoo did nothing to expel this notion from my mind.
The first of these supposedly elegant animals that we spotted had its legs spread awkwardly and its elongated neck was reaching not upward to the treetops but towards the ground to graze on the lush grass. It was hardly a graceful pose but it does demonstrate that these contented giraffes have no fear of predators in their home only 30 minutes’ drive from Melbourne.
The Werribee Zoo Savannah, accessible only by guided bus tour is home to zebras, antelopes and rhinos but the giraffes were by far the most inquisitive of the animals. They came up close to the bus and were as curious about us as we were about them, making my telephoto lens redundant.
Some fun facts about giraffes.
When male giraffes fight it is called “necking”, the opposite of what humans do when they are “necking”.
While I’m used to being the short one in the group when a giraffe is born it is often over 1.8metres, already considerably taller than me.
Giraffes are born with horns. Ouch!
As females give birth standing up, newborns giraffes fall about one and a half meters to the ground. That’s payback for the horns.
If you want to get even closer to the giraffes the Werribee Zoo offers a Tall Order Giraffe Encounter.
The website says that this experience ‘makes the perfect gift’. I tend to agree with them so if anyone is thinking about a Christmas present for me, just click on the link above.
And for the record my favourite animal is not one of the cool kids of the savannah but is the eternally underappreciated zebra.