Reaching up to 18 feet, giraffes are the tallest animals on land, and they look pretty lanky and ungainly. But, as you can learn on the Oregon Zoo’s website, there’s more to them than meets the eye. While they normally move slowly as they nibble on leaves, they can gallop at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Plus, these usually gentle giants defend themselves when threatened—they’ve been known to kill lions with a kick from their hind legs.
Maintaining such big, strong bodies takes a lot of work. Giraffes eat up to 75 pounds of leaves every day, and their hearts pump 2-3 times harder than a human’s in order to get blood all the way up their necks to their heads. Giraffes don’t even get much of a break when they sleep—since lying down and getting back up again is tricky for such big, lanky animals, they sleep standing up!

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