The giraffe is an animal that immediately inspires sympathy when you spot it during a safari and you are usually enchanted by their height and elegance.
The giraffe is not only the tallest animal on earth, but has other unique physical characteristics: they have a heart that weighs about 11 kg, a very long neck that can measure up to 1.8 meters, double blood pressure values compared to that of us men, they also have a very long tongue.
The giraffe's tongue is very long, from 45 to 50 cm, it has a dark color, a bluish-violet color, due to the quantity of melanin present, that protects it from the sun; it is also a prehensile tongue that can twist around the branches of trees in order to better tear off the leaves it feeds on.
The giraffe spends most of the day eating, it can tear only a few leaves from each bite and it takes a lot of vegetable matter to feed such a large animal; giraffes can eat up to 34 kg of food per day.
If the giraffe's tongue was not dark and protected by melanin it would be exposed, every day and for several hours, to the African sun, whose solar rays are very strong and could cause burns.
The tongue, being so long, allows the giraffe to feed on leaves that are also found on very high branches, also by twisting around the branch, it allows it to tear more leaves at each step.
Evolution has made the giraffe's tongue become very hard, even the lips have very resistant skin; this causes the giraffe to feed on very palatable leaves that grow on very thorny branches, such as the acacias whose spines could otherwise cause cuts and injuries.
If a thorn is accidentally ingested by the giraffe, its saliva, very thick and sticky, wraps it and makes it harmless so that it does not damage its digestive system.
The saliva produced by the giraffe also has antiseptic properties and this is useful for disinfecting the rare cuts that the animal can obtain by eating; also the giraffe uses these antiseptic and prehensile properties of its tongue to regularly clean its ears.
The giraffe's mouth has another curious feature, the interior has a bone palate that is also useful for preventing punctures or cuts while the giraffe feeds on trees with thorny twigs.
The giraffe uses its teeth, long tongue and stiff palate to cut and tear food before the rear teeth can begin chewing.
The giraffe has 32 teeth just like humans, but they are positioned differently: the incisors are found only in the lower jaw, while in the upper jaw the bone palate is in their place; the molars instead are found in both the lower and upper jaw, these teeth are used to chew the food they eat before swallowing it, the giraffes are ruminants and the bolus is subsequently chewed from their posterior molars.
Another curiosity concerns the eyes of the giraffe: they are positioned lateral to the head, they are slightly protruding and allow the animal to have a good peripheral vision useful for spotting possible predators.
The eyes, being protruding, need adequate protection both from the sun's rays and from any thorns of the trees as well as from the ants that defend their tree house; this protection is provided by long and dense lashesthat can envy any model.