Baby giraffe that just woke up

They tower nearly two stories tall (up to 20 feet), weigh well over 2,000 pounds, and stand on long, lanky legs that let them reach speeds up to 40 mph. But with such a massive, gangly frame, how do they lay down to sleep?

First, to lie down, the giraffe kneels on its front legs, folding them under its body, and then lowers its body to the ground, sort of like an accordion. Getting back up is pretty much the opposite process – the giraffe first gets on its knees and then spreads its hind legs to raise its back-end to full height. Then they straighten their front legs and viola, they’re back upright again.

Luckily giraffes don’t have to do this awkward routine very often – they only sleep intermittently, short naps, of about 15 minutes which add up to only a few hours of sleep each day. When sleeping, the giraffe keeps its front knees folded and bends its neck backward to rest its head on its butt.

Check out the pictures of giraffes sleeping in the pictorial gallery below.  Click the picture to start the gallery.

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