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Food intake of a giraffe

13 February 2014

www.leopard.tv

 

QUESTION:

How does a giraffe eat the leaves of the branches and how much does he eat?

 

ANSWER:

The giraffe pushes its head deep into the foliage and this may mean that giraffes utilize more leaves on a tree than are generally believed. Giraffes feed on the leaves by stripping them off the twigs with the tongue and prehensile lips. Even thorns are handled easily by a giraffe when it is feeding. It has been calculated that an adult giraffe will eat some 29 kg of leaves and twigs per day. This is less living plant material per kg of live weight than most other types of herbivore and is the result of the more concentrated nature of the food being eaten.

 

Answer by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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