Gi­raffe

World of Animals - - Wild Record Breakers -

The tallest land an­i­mal needs no in­tro­duc­tion. Watch­ing these gan­gly graz­ers gal­lop across the African sa­van­nah is on many a wildlife-lover’s bucket list. While that lengthy neck – which can reach 2.4 me­tres (7.9 feet) and is the long­est of any liv­ing an­i­mal – comes in ex­tremely handy for reach­ing the juici­est leaves in the tree­tops and bat­tling with ri­vals, it does mean that their in­ter­nal bi­ol­ogy has had to adapt in order to work around this fea­ture.

A gi­raffe’s heart is huge – about 0.6 me­tres (two feet) long! – with thick­ened walls; this pro­vides enough power to pump blood all the way to its head. Equally im­pres­sive, a com­plex net­work of elas­ti­cated ar­ter­ies and veins near the brain stops blood rush­ing to the gi­raffe’s head when it bends down to drink so it doesn’t faint.

“A gi­raffe’s in­ter­nal bi­ol­ogy has had to adapt to work around its long neck”

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