They’re tall, graceful, and have long, slim legs. Baby giraffes are cute, too. But what is it like to be a baby giraffe? These animals are surprisingly comfortable in their skin!
When you think about it, growing into an adult takes quite a lot of work. So much so that the gestation period for giraffe calves is about 16 months long. This article looks at how much space baby giraffes need to grow inside their mothers and how 15-foot-tall mommies give birth without breaking their backs or necks!
What is the gestation period for giraffes?
The gestation period is the length of time between the initial fertilization of the egg and its hatching as an independent embryo. Depending on the species, this period can last from 10 – 22 weeks. Giraffes are in the middle of that range with a 16-month gestation period. This is a very long period of time for an embryo to grow inside its mother! But giraffes are large animals and need lots of space to grow and mature.
Therefore, inside the female’s womb, the embryo is packed so tightly that the calf’s head is the only part that can move and turn. Inside the mother, the embryo has almost no room to move. Therefore, the calf’s joints and muscles are underdeveloped and under-active inside the mother’s womb. This is why baby giraffes have very unstable joints when they are born and need to be cautious and careful when walking.
Giraffe birth process: how do pregnant giraffes give birth?
After the baby giraffe has grown inside the uterus for almost a year, the time has come for it to be born. But how can a 15-foot-tall giraffe give birth to a calf nearly as tall as she is? How does a giraffe not break her neck or back when giving birth? The answer to these questions is that giraffes have an extraordinary way of giving birth.
The baby giraffe has to drop feet-first from the uterus into the birth canal. And then, it has to push through the narrow birth canal and come out of the mother’s vagina. When the baby giraffe is ready to be born, the mother walks around and looks for a place to have the calf. The mother chooses a quiet, safe place. There, the mother squats down, bends her head and neck towards her back, and drops the baby out of her uterus and into the birth canal.
How are baby giraffes born without breaking their mothers’ spines?
If the baby giraffe were to drop head-first from the uterus, the mother would break her spine. And if the baby were to drop feet-first, the mother would break her sacrum (a triangular bone at the base of the spine). But how can the mother avoid these injuries? The answer to this question lies in the mother’s muscles. The muscles surrounding the mother’s birth canal are strong and spongy. Therefore, when the baby starts to drop out of the uterus, the muscles contract and push the baby toward the birth canal. As a result, the baby giraffe slides into the birth canal feet-first.
The gestation period for giraffes is about 16 months long and is the most extended gestation period of all mammals. The embryo inside a giraffe has almost no room to move, as the mother’s womb is spacious and packed with organs and bones. As a result, baby giraffes have very wobbly joints as they are born and must be careful when walking. The mother’s strong muscles and birth canal help the baby drop feet into the birth canal. This way, the baby giraffe can be born without breaking the mother’s spine or the baby’s neck. Cute and clever, baby giraffes are amazing animals.