Everyone knows giraffes have really long necks and are the tallest mammals in all the world. But what you may not have known it that they have the longest tail of any land animal. And they have black tongues. They can go weeks without drinking water, getting moisture from the 75 pounds of vegetation they eat daily. Giraffes are fast and can run up to 35 mph in short bursts. They can moo, hiss, whistle, and go “rowr.”
There are nine subspecies of giraffe that are distinguished by their pattern of spots or coloring and also where they live (they are all indigenous to Africa). Each individual giraffe has it’s own unique pattern of spots, like human fingerprints. The Masai giraffe has a pattern on it’s fur that sorta-kinda looks like an oak leaf or a raggedy star.
Sociable Weavers build, run, and maintain B&B’s (Bed & Breakfasts: a kind of charming, quaint hotel that generally provides the comfort and quiet of home) all over the Kalahari savannas of Africa. They build these giant nests (the largest by any bird) that can weigh several tons (think of when it rains in the rainy season) and house anywhere from 10 to 500 birds in honeycomb-like chambers. Some of the large colonies have seen many generations of birds, sometimes over a hundred years. Other bird species, such as South African pygmy falcon, pied barbet, Roseyfaced Lovebirds, Familiar Chats, tits, sparrows, vultures, owls, eagles, and finches also make residence in the Weaver apartment building because they are great landlords and there is safety in numbers.
Safety from what? What could possibly want to enter the nest? Who would want to hang out in a fluffy, cool nesting chamber, filled with adorable baby Weavers? Oh just snakes like cobras or mambas; or baboons, or rats, or honey badgers. They like to eat eggs.
So having your condo on top of a giant pole is a good thing. It’s so good, that some birds don’t even need to leave the nest. Like ever. Teenage Weavers help take care of the new chicks and may decide to just move into an empty nesting chamber nearby. Parents feed neighbor chicks and it’s a big happy family.
Social weaver nest CC BY-SA 4.0
Photograph by Mike Peel