It’s been about a week since April the giraffe and her unborn baby have been in the news and hopefully, for her sake, she’s almost out of the spotlight! She’s caught the attention and the hearts of the world by the live stream her home, Animal Adventures Park, has been providing. #GiraffeWatch has been getting pretty intense as the days pass on.
Since the story has blown up over the past week many of us around the globe have several questions, and rightfully so. It’s not like there’s commentary during the stream nor is giraffe birthing a typical conversation.
After doing some research, here’s what you need to know:
This 15 year old beauty is already a mother of three with her fourth on the way. Traditionally giraffe’s only age to about 15 when in the wild, but if held in professional captivity they can live to be 20-27 years old. Zookeepers at Animals Adventure’s Park assume she’ll be able to carry children long after this delivery.
This is the first giraffe baby born to this zoo, meaning April’s other babies were born at other facilities. She became a resident of AAP in September 2015 and seems to be very comfortable within her environment.
The Birthing Process
Giraffe’s are pregnant for 15 months at a time. According to zookeepers you can tell April is in labor only when you see a set of hooves coming out of her… You know what that means. The baby is late by about a week so she is expected to delivery any time now.
An interesting fact about giraffe’s is they instinctively hide their labor to not draw attention from predators who will wait until the birth is complete to attack the calf. Her water will break but it’s unsure if it’ll come out as a gush or little droplets, like humans.
Once the hooves are showing from a giraffe’s rear end she’ll usually be in labor for 15-20 minutes! And April will deliver standing up, meaning the baby will have quite the drop. But don’t worry, zookeepers will be in attendance to assist in the birth.
But What About The Baby Daddy?
We’ve all noticed the giraffe in the next enclosure over. His name is Oliver! Turns out April is a cougar since Oliver is only 5 years old! Seems like just a baby himself, I know. Turns out male giraffe’s, otherwise referred to as Bulls, must keep separate from the newborn calf, as well as the women.
Bulls only have three things on their minds: food, fighting, and having sex. So in fear of Oliver taking April’s food, attacking her or the baby, or harming other giraffes in the enclosure they are kept separate. Although he will have a few minutes with his child, father’s aren’t involved in the upbringing of a calf.
Life With a Newborn
The new calf will be cleaned by his/her mommy for the first ten minutes of it’s life, then will have the ability to walk. When they’re about 30 minutes old they’ll have the ability to run and it’ll continue to be nursed for about 6 months. When the baby is old enough it will be sent to another inclosure in fear of incest.
And there you have it, all the fun facts I bet you didn’t know about giraffe’s and how they give birth. So feel free to provide your own Animal Planet type of commentary for your friends as you anxiously await the arrival of the new calf while you’re huddled around your computer screen.