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Giraffes grow about 4 feet (1.2 meters) in their first year of life. A newborn giraffe is about 6 feet (1.9 meters) tall at birth and weighs about 150 pounds (68 kilograms). Many young giraffes, called calves, die from lion attacks during their first year of life. Once a giraffe reaches adulthood its height is often enough to protect it from lions. Adult giraffes, however, must still be careful of lions when they are bending down to drink water or rest. Usually giraffes will drink or rest in shifts so that at least one giraffe is always on the lookout for approaching predators. The giraffes' height and excellent vision give them a wide view of the grasslands where they live, making it easy to spot predators from a distance. Some scientists believe that other animals—such as zebras, antelope, and wildebeests—often congregate near giraffes to take advantage of their ability to see danger from a distance. The giraffe could be considered the early warning system of the African grasslands.
Flamingos are famous for their bright pink feathers, stilt-like legs, and S-shaped neck. When a flamingo spots potential dinner—favorite foods include shrimp, snails, and plantlike water organisms called algae—it plunges its head into the water, twists it upside down, and scoops the fish using its upper beak like a shovel. They are able to "run" on water, thanks to their webbed feet, to gain speed before lifting up into the sky. Flamingos build nests that look like mounds of mud along waterways. At the top of the mound, in a shallow hole, the female lays one egg. The parents take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm. After about 30 days, the egg hatches. Flamingo young are born white, with soft, downy feathers and a straight bill. The bill gradually curves downward as the flamingo matures. Both parents take care of the newborn flamingo, feeding it a fluid produced in their digestive systems. The young leave the nest after about five days to join other young flamingos in small groups, returning to the parents for food. The parents identify their chick by its voice. After about three weeks, the adults herd young flamingos into large groups called crèches where they start to look for food on their own. Most flamingo species are not endangered, although the Andean flamingo is listed as Vulnerable, and the Chilean, Lesser, and Puna flamingos are Near Threatened.
Somebunny Loves Me
This adorable book is all about the magical world of furry friendships. Learn what makes you a good friend for your fuzzy, feathered, or scaly bud. You'll love the cute photos of dogs, cats, lizards, fish, rabbits, and other animal friends in the Nat Geo Kids book Somebunny Loves Me.