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The Giraffe Center in Nairobi

Rhona Lewis

Hi Kids! We’ve visited lots of interesting places together in my birthplace, Kenya. There’s so much left to see in this beautiful country. Today we’re going to visit a Giraffe Center, where, as you’ve probably guessed, we’ll get to see — and even hand-feed — all kinds of giraffes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My children and I found out that feeding giraffes is heaps of fun, if you have the courage to hold still and let the giraffe wrap its enormous purple-black tongue round your hand. Their warm tongues feel like very wet, rough sand paper. Once the pellet is gone, you aren’t left empty-handed, though — your palm is full of the giraffe’s saliva! The basin and soap are that way!

Hashem gave giraffes tongues that are perfect for their favorite food — the thorny acacia tree. Their 45-cm (18-inch — the size of one and a half long rulers) -long purple-blue tongues are covered in a thick skin. Although acacia trees are full of long thorns, the giraffes don’t feel the pricks because they have a thick, tough covering on their tongues. Their tongues are also long, so they can easily wrap them around the sharp thorns. And the purple-blue color is thought to protect them against sunburn. Just in case they do get pricked, their saliva has special antiseptic in it to make sure no infections start up. So, on second thought, you may not want to wash all that saliva off.

 

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