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August 7, 2013 4:33 PM   Subscribe

A baby giraffe is born at the Woodland Park Zoo.

There are some more photos on the zoo's blog.
posted by Going To Maine (55 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
OK, the legs hanging out of mama giraffe's vagina are pretty freaky/funny.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:38 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


go home baby giraffe you are drunk
posted by workerant at 4:54 PM on August 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


That's quite a crash landing.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:06 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has its mother's neck.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:10 PM on August 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Giraffe arrives at minute mark. It is cutedorable.
posted by Artw at 5:11 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


They have jaguar kittens at the zoo right now as well. Not sure how grown up the lion cubs are - quite the population explosion.
posted by Artw at 5:17 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ew ew ew ew OH GROD ... Aw, awwww, oh! Squee ...
posted by Occula at 5:17 PM on August 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, come on, who designed this system???
posted by MoxieProxy at 5:35 PM on August 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


GAH! Why did you not warn me that the background image in the blog's header was a red panda? With the baby giraffe, it was like getting a shotgun blast of cute IN THE FACE.

Which I am actually pretty okay with. Just warn a guy first so he doesn't make embarrassing noises.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:41 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have suddenly realized I have no idea how giraffes have sex.
posted by JanetLand at 5:46 PM on August 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have suddenly realized I have no idea how giraffes have sex.

I have the answer, my friend.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:53 PM on August 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


(You may not want to browse the site that picture came from.)
posted by Going To Maine at 5:54 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess sex is precarious no matter what species you are.
posted by JanetLand at 6:02 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember once watching one of these over a livestream, and I think the lead up to the big moment really changes the experience. A two minute video is once thing, but I remember hours of nothing aside from legs hanging out like the world's grossest poop and then SPLOOSH! Intellectually, I knew it was coming and was ready for it, but after all that built up tension, I screamed so loud I woke my neighbors.
posted by Diagonalize at 6:03 PM on August 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are giraffes always born breech? Looked owie. I love how the other giraffe comes over to see what's up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:04 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did prehistoric human mothers lick their babies clean? Someone should try to make that a thing again, just for laughs.
posted by orme at 6:08 PM on August 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


The birthing room decor needs a little work. Safe from lions I guess, but not exactly the great plain.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:13 PM on August 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


orme, have you seen the movie Babies? It's a documentary that follows four babies in Japan, the US, Mongolia, and Namibia. The Namibian mom washes her baby's face by licking it.
posted by not that girl at 6:14 PM on August 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


go home, evolution. you're drunk.
posted by entropone at 6:29 PM on August 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Are giraffes always born breech?

It's actually not being born breech; those are its front legs poking out, followed by its little face starting at the fifteen second mark. Superman position.

(Wikipedia says that's the usual.)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:40 PM on August 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


This video made me wonder how aware of the pregnancy/coming baby most first time non-human mothers are. They certainly have instincts and often fellow mothers to help them, but is there any anticipation on their part? When they go into labor, do they know there will be a baby/babies soon?
I know it is not really an answerable question, but her looking at the legs at the beginning made me wonder.
posted by soelo at 6:43 PM on August 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


soelo: They certainly have instincts and often fellow mothers to help them,

I find this a really interesting topic. When I was last at Melbourne Zoo (for 'I, Animal') I got to see some footage of Dokkoon the elephant giving birth to Mali. You can see part of it here.

There was an interesting commentary about how other mothers play an important role in preventing newborns from being inadvertently injured by their mother, and how, because it was Dokkoon's first pregnancy (and I believe the first elephant birth at the Zoo), they wanted it to take place inside the elephant house with the vet team on standby - that meant that the keepers had to take on that role. You can't see it so clearly, but watch for the way the red shirted vet/keeper team go in to grab Mali and get her out from underfoot. Amazing.
posted by curious.jp at 7:05 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The giraffe is like I'VE GOT FEET STICKING OUT OF ME BUM.
posted by littlesq at 7:24 PM on August 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


soelo: "This video made me wonder how aware of the pregnancy/coming baby most first time non-human mothers are. They certainly have instincts and often fellow mothers to help them, but is there any anticipation on their part? When they go into labor, do they know there will be a baby/babies soon?"

I wondered this ALL THE TIME when I was pregnant and feeling particularly mammalian and kept asking every veterinarian/biologist/zookeeper/etc. that I talked to what their opinion was.

There was a gorilla who learned to breastfeed by watching human volunteers from La Leche League. Some of the higher mammals (great apes, dolphins, elephants, etc.), at least, must have some idea of motherhood. If gorillas recognize us as apes that they can imitate to learn to feed their babies, I can't imagine they don't have some sort of idea that they're pregnant, at least once the baby quickens and is kicking around.

Also I have watched an Amur Tiger mother her four babies all this past year and basically Tigers: They're Just Like Us! She frequently looks tired and annoyed about the whole thing, SAME AS ME, especially when they're climbing all over her and she wants to nap.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:41 PM on August 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have been following Kiko the little giraffe at the Greenville S.C. Zoo since his birth last October.
I love giraffes. I hope I can arrange to go see this lovely baby.
The other giraffe in the other pen is I believe, an older half- sister. Same father, the late Chioka, different mother.
She's there partly as moral support for Olivia, and partly to learn about about birth. Giraffes have no way to tell their offspring about all this. In the wild it would all be observation and OJT.
With Kiko, I think there was a moment when both his mother and father understood that there was this very small giraffe, and they had to look after him.
Bonding takes a few days. It looks like this was a very smooth, easy birt and like Olivia will be a good mother.
Thanks for posting this.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:41 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


RDA of cute: achieved.
posted by immlass at 8:02 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think that this was a difficult delivery. It is always fascinating and rather joyous to watch the birth of new life. I suppose because of the tallness of the giraffe, I was reminded of a very different and difficult delivery in a National Geographic documentary, The Story of The Weeping Camel. The mother camel rejects the baby and the human family knows that unless she can accept her baby it will die. As they work to save the baby camel, the surprising resolution blurs emotional and psychological lines between humans and animals.
posted by Anitanola at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just love the thing where the thing is trying to walk moments after it's first breath. Not just somehow having the muscle coordination to be able to do it, but the desire. Compare that to a human baby where it takes months to get to that point. Even kittens and puppies take a couple days to get used to this having to breathe forever and bright light monster we call life before they start trying to navigate.

Also, I loved the other giraffe wandering over, shocked to see that his sister or girlfriend has just created a copy of herself. To the extent it has cognition, it must have been freaked the fuck out.

Plug: Too Cute on Animal Planet is the best show ever. And kittens shedding their baby teeth might be the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life.
posted by gjc at 8:10 PM on August 7, 2013


So how do baby animals develop without an umbilical cord and placenta?
posted by stopgap at 8:22 PM on August 7, 2013


And kittens shedding their baby teeth might be the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life.

A bengal kitten loses a baby tooth
posted by Going To Maine at 8:29 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


My childhood cat lost one of his baby teeth by sinking it into my heel and running off without it.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:33 PM on August 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


shlupshBANG

Surely the bang came first?
posted by yoink at 8:45 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That looks downright uncomfortable for both parties.
posted by goethean at 8:46 PM on August 7, 2013


Having given birth for the first time less than a year ago, watching Dokkoon the elephant giving birth to Mali was uncomfortably visceral for me. That bit where she circles and then lifts her back leg up and kinds of hops around, trying to shake that baby out? I feel you sister.
posted by Wantok at 8:48 PM on August 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


In retrospect, the title should probably be "shlupshBANGfshhh" as everything after the calf slips out.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:48 PM on August 7, 2013


"So how do baby animals develop without an umbilical cord and placenta?"

Like after they're born? Or before? Because all mammals except monotemes (platypus, echidna) and marsupials (kangaroos, koalas, possums) have placentas and umbilicuses (umbilici?). In the case of a giraffe, like cows and horses, the umbilicus snaps when the baby falls to the ground upon birth and doesn't need to be cut or chewed apart. In case you're interested in non-placental mammals, marsupials hang out in pouches and monotremes ... lay eggs and then do other old-timey mammal things. Like not have nipples but instead secrete milk out of undifferentiated skin glands. Monotremes, man.

Fun activity: You can search cats and dogs of your acquaintance who like belly rubs for their bellybuttons, which they have. On most mammals the bellybutton scar is more vertical and scar-like (says a mammal vet to whom I put this question when I was pregnant and cranky about being a mammal); the round bellybutton "hole" on humans is quite unusual. But you can find the little umbilicus scar on any (placental) mammal that'll let you search its abdomen for a while.

(BTW, seeing a video of a giraffe give birth almost put me off pregnancy for life because of the horrifying fall-and-sploosh. But if you REALLY want to be put off mammalian birth for life, watch an orca give birth. With no gravity to push against the whole process is pretty horrifying, plus there's all the blood in the water. The orca's all "MAYBE IF I SWIM FASTER THIS THING WILL COME OUT AND THE CONTRACTIONS WILL STOP. NO? NOT WORKING? OKAY I GUESS I'LL JUST SWIM FASTER SOME MORE AS I HAVE NO BETTER IDEAS.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 PM on August 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


I just watched some orca birth vids and what struck me was how the baby just like swims away after, all, "Hey guys! I'm a whale! And I'm alive now, I guess? Wee!"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:09 PM on August 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


I know they're evolved to it and all but the part where infant orcas (dolphins, etc.) have to immediately swim up to get air gives me the cold-sweat heebie-jeebies. Being born into an environment in which you cannot breathe seems horrifying.

Also lots of marine mammals have "midwives" -- older female whales, often an "aunt" of the mother -- who swim alongside the laboring mother, apparently encouraging them, and who sometimes help the baby surface for its first breath, especially if it's been a very long labor.

Also blue whales produce 50 gallons of breastmilk per day while lactating and the blue whale infants gain 250 lbs. per day or 10 lbs. per hour. Making 24 oz. per day for the infant to gain an ounce or so left me freaking exhausted and eating 150% of my normal calories, and I wasn't even stuck eating freaking krill.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:21 PM on August 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wantok: That bit where she circles and then lifts her back leg up and kinds of hops around, trying to shake that baby out? I feel you sister.

You should check out when Num-Oi gave birth to Sanook back in January. She did it while running!
posted by curious.jp at 9:54 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The other giraffe was the big sister. The new giraffe baby's dad passed earlier this year. His name was Chioke. He was a very sweet-natured giraffe. Giraffes are generally very good-natured animals.
Big sis was there to learn about birth and for moral support.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:18 PM on August 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Love it when the little dude gets up and walks. His mom must be so proud.
posted by dougzilla at 12:01 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because all mammals except monotemes … and marsupials … have placentas and umbilicuses…. In the case of a giraffe, like cows and horses, the umbilicus snaps when the baby falls to the ground upon birth and doesn't need to be cut or chewed apart.

Thanks. I had assumed all typcial mammals did, but there was nothing like an umbilical cord visible in the video so I was confused as to how things were working here. Wikipedia's article on umbilical cords focused almost entirely on humans.
posted by stopgap at 6:24 AM on August 8, 2013


I just love the thing where the thing is trying to walk moments after it's first breath. Not just somehow having the muscle coordination to be able to do it, but the desire.

I was literally sitting there talking to the screen, "come on, get up, you have to stand up so you can get your milk. . . " That was by far the most emotionally engaging part of that video.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:21 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do a music class with preschoolers once a week and they always try and stump me with what sounds animals make when we do Old MacDonald. So I looked up what sound giraffes make (sound at 1:50).

I'm not sure any of them believe me when we sing "With a aaauuuuaauugh here and a aaauauuuggh there..."
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:27 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Num-Oi video curious.jp posted, not least for this one sentence flashed acoss the screen: "Melbourne zoo is proud Num-Oi can give birth under the stars." That is indeed lovely.

I've always had a fondness for orangutans. This Mom and newborn are adorable together.The orang is a loving, doting Mom, too, even though, sadly, she has only one arm.
posted by misha at 8:04 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Giraffe snort when startled. It's a horse-like snort. They make cute little whiffleing noises, they grunt, they bellow, they moo. They make flute like noises, they whistle.
The males cough to get the attention of females they are interested in.
As well, giraffe communicate at the infra-sonic level, as do elephants and whales.
Giraffe generally don't make many audible noises. it used to be thought they couldn't.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:59 AM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]



Giraffe snort when startled. It's a horse-like snort. They make cute little whiffleing noises, they grunt, they bellow, they moo. They make flute like noises, they whistle.


I love them I love them so much.But they smell SO BAD.
posted by sweetkid at 9:50 AM on August 8, 2013


Also I was a baby giraffe once for Halloween and got these extra long fake eyelashes and put my hair in little buns for the horns and got like three dates out of that party.
posted by sweetkid at 9:51 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The smell of some giraffes comes from a certain chemical present in their skin oils. This chemical deters ticks. It also is the same chemical that gives human faeces that smell. Reticulated giraffes seem to have more of this chemical than other sub-species.
Also the males tend to use urine as a cologne.
This is not unusual with ruminants.
Giraffes are best viewed outdoors.
On the upside, a giraffe can't sneak up on you and steal your cookies. :)
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:00 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have also seen one pee for ten minutes straight. I swear to God.

It was hysterical. Everyone standing there clapped when he FINALLY finished.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:58 PM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a boy!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:06 PM on August 8, 2013


Oh, I think giraffes smell WAY better than hippos! Hippos really don't smell nice.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:07 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]




I was reminded of a very different and difficult delivery in a National Geographic documentary, The Story of The Weeping Camel. The mother camel rejects the baby and the human family knows that unless she can accept her baby it will die. As they work to save the baby camel, the surprising resolution blurs emotional and psychological lines between humans and animals.

The Story of The Weeping Camel is a great film.
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a barn cam. It's from an outfit called Dropcam and they put highlights up on YouTube. The cam puts you face to face with the little guy.
His eyes are so beautiful, he runs around. He nibbles browse. He's so cute.
The link is in the Woodland Park Zoo article.
Sadly it's Flash.
So I don't get to watch obsessively.
Kiko in Greenville has been growing so fast.
It's been very interesting watching his growth, physically and I guess mentally and socially.
I really love watching Kiko. He has been a huge part of my Internet life since his live-streamed birth.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:57 PM on August 16, 2013


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