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    Celebrating World Giraffe Day

    Today marks a unique convergence of events: it’s World Giraffe Day and the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. This serendipitous alignment seems fitting, given the giraffe’s most distinctive feature—its long neck, the longest of any animal in the world. 

    Here are some fascinating facts about giraffes:

    1. Neck Structure: Despite the impressive length of a giraffe’s neck, it contains just seven cervical vertebrae, the same number found in other mammals. However, these vertebrae are much longer, giving the giraffe its towering height.

    2. Blood Pressure and Circulation: The giraffe’s heart has to pump blood at twice the pressure of a human heart to ensure blood reaches its brain, which is far from the heart. To prevent blood from flowing back when it bends down, the giraffe’s neck blood vessels are equipped with special pocket-shaped valves.

    3. Neck Support: A giraffe’s long neck is supported by a special tendon that helps keep it vertical, reducing the effort required by the neck muscles. Interestingly, lowering the neck requires effort as the tendon must stretch.

    4. Necking Battles: Male giraffes engage in a behaviour known as “necking,” where they rub or hit their necks against each other. This can be a mild interaction or a fierce competition to win the favour of females and secure mating rights.

    5. Drinking Challenges: Due to their necks being too short to reach the ground easily, giraffes must splay their legs and bend awkwardly to drink water. This uncomfortable position means they drink water infrequently, relying instead on moisture from leaves.

    In a humorous nod to today’s celebration, employees of Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, Poland’s tallest building, measured its height in giraffes—equivalent to 47 of these magnificent creatures! 

    Happy World Giraffe Day!

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