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Photo by Lauren Darcey. All rights reserved.

     This large animal needs a lot of food to fuel itself.  Adult giraffes can eat up to seventy-five pounds of food in one day!  They feed primarily on acacia trees.  There is not much competition with other species for the leaves they feed on.  One reason for this is because their long necks allow them to reach much higher into the trees then other animals.  They also do not have to compete for their food because the acacia they feed on have sharp thorns that prevents most other animals from eating the leaves.  Their 18-20 inch tongue gives the giraffe an advantage because it can reach around the thorns and grab the leaves.  If a thorn is accidentally eaten the giraffe produces a thick saliva which coats the thorn so it does not cause any damage.  The male and female also do not compete with each other.  The females feed from the lower branches and males from the higher.

     Giraffes spend a majority of their day feeding.  The leaves that they eat contain a lot of water, and because of this giraffes can go for weeks without drinking.  However the herd will usually travel to a watering hole every couple of days.

     Giraffes are ruminants which means they have a four-chambered stomach.  After they chew and swallow their food for the first time, a ball of cud, partially digested food, is regurgitated and chewed some more.

     In captivity giraffes eat hay, grains, vegetables, and also fresh leaves if available. 

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