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Giraffe Stand Diary: a Thursday Afternoon

Jan 31 2012
by NEW Zoo Education Dept

It’s been a calm day in the giraffe stand. Hodari and Zuri rest together now on the floor, although I can hear the very vocal Shambe, the African lion, roaring from his exhibit outside. During most of the time I’ve spent working this afternoon giraffe stand shift, Hodari has been chewing his cud.  Zuri has taken advantage of Hodari’s lazy attitude by eating her own meal of alfalfa hay. You see, usually Hodari gets first pick and is not always willing to share when the food is first served! And so, she has feasted at the ceiling-high feeder while he lounges on the floor.  Even after an hour has passed, Hodari is still lying down, repetitively chewing, while Zuri takes turns grabbing mouthfuls of hay and licking the metal bars of her exhibit.  I think she likes the way they feel on her tongue!

This afternoon, I visited and spoke with total of six zoo guests who came to visit the giraffes and feed them a few crackers.  I taught the guests about the giraffes.  For example, did you know that giraffes would rather eat than sleep?  In fact, in the wild, they eat for about 16 to 20 hours a day, and sleep an average only of 5 minutes to 2 hours in a 24 hour period!  Giraffes in the wild also rarely lie down due to the dangers of predators; but here at the zoo, Hodari and Zuri enjoy their lion-free habitat.  Especially in the winter months, it isn’t uncommon to find them lying down.  They have even mastered the art of lying down in the perfect spot – where they can always reach their noses (and grasping tongues!) to the fence and take a cracker from a zoo guest’s outstretched hand.  Hodari and Zuri may be lazy at times – but they are also pretty smart!


Hodari and Zuri are both feeling lazy!

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