Sunday, February 26, 2017

WATCH LIVE: April the giraffe prepares to give birth

April the celebrity pregnant giraffe

As many of you likely know by now, April the Giraffe and her consort, Oliver, are expecting a new calf any minute.  And as the cam was shut down for awhile due to a complaint about the feed being "sexually explicit" plus "nudity which is against youtube policy. 

The complaint may well have been a prank...

 At any rate, cooler heads prevailed and the live cam is back up with a million jillion new users.

But having been watching April made me realize how little I knew or had even thought about when it came to giraffes.

She appeared to be chewing a cud.

Indeed they are cud chewers.  You'll see April chew, chew, chew, swallow it, bring it back up and chew, chew, chew some more.

Then someone wanted to know if a giraffe was kosher in the Jewish tradition.  Indeed as it is in the cloven hoof category and chews a cud, the vets contacted in Israel decided indeed yes they are kosher.  Not that they planned on eating one, of course. 

I also noted when April leaned over to eat some fodder she raised her back left leg a little.

You guessed it.  While standing straight up on all fours giraffes mouths can't touch the ground.

After watched April keep walking around in the middle of the night for hours.  I began wondering if this was pre-labor or quite the usual for a giraffe.

Indeed giraffes in the wild very seldom lie down.  It is too impossible to get up in a hurry  when a tiger is heading for you.  Also they only sleep for about three hours in short spurts anyway.  

Hardly worth the trouble.

Then I looked up at the video feed and April had laid down.  Geez.

That's not a sign of labor.  They give birth to standing up.  Is something going wrong?


Turns out giraffes in captivity do lay down on occasion and also slip in an extra hour, count 'em
FOUR hours of sleep.

They do have a bit of trouble trying to figure out what to do with their heads though.

April, wise giraffe that she is, has figured it out.
You lay your head up against the side of the wall. 

 By the way she laid down for about 15 to 20 minutes.   Though her eyes were mostly open during that time.  Still taking those cat/giraffe naps.

Oliver by the way has a stall next to April's.  He sticks his head in periodically and checks on her.  Though when the keepers open the door and let Oliver into April's stall he tends to want to rough house which April is in no mood to participate in so he mostly has to stay next door or in the daytime he has an open door to the outside and can go rough house with someone else anytime he feels like it.
Here she is back up again.

And back down again...

I'm assuming if any of us were lugging around a hundred and forty pound giraffe calf, we'd be lying down periodically too.

Donegal Browne