Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthing a Six Foot Baby

A friend just called today with the fantastic news that one of her giraffes is in labor. Well, it's actually the zoo's giraffe, but when you take care of the animals every day, they begin to feel like yours. I have no doubt she's as proud as any soon-to-be gramma could be.

The news immediately took me back to watching my first giraffe birth many years ago at the Dallas Zoo. The poor female walked around with hooves protruding from her for hours. We were all really worried the baby would suffocate after so long in the birth canal. But some six hours after it all began, the baby's head and neck began to emerge. It didn't take much longer for the baby to come falling out. I covered my eyes, thinking surely the fall would injure the not so little guy. But, the vet on call that day assured me that hitting the ground actually helps clear their air passages and get them breathing.

What was really astounding was how huge the baby was. When she stood, she was six feet tall and weighed something like 150 lbs. That's quite a baby. She was up and walking around like she'd been born to it within the hour, too. The whole thing was truly amazing. Here's hoping my friend's giraffe birth goes off without a hitch. May momma giraffe and her fairly ginormous baby be happy and healthy. In honor of the impending birth, I thought I'd share some photos I took of a couple of my young giraffe friends.

All photos by Amanda Corlies Sandos.

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