Giraffes in Captivity

Giraffes in Captivity

Giraffes and Zoos

Giraffes are found in zoos all over out there both large and small. They are animals that attract a great deal of attention and that are easy enough to manage. They are very gentle with people so they often have enclosures that allow people to come right up to them .They are quite tame in such surroundings. One zoo in particular to see them is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. There is a refuge for them found there that you can walk all the way around and feed crackers to them as you do so.

What is often picked up on and criticized with giraffes in captivity is that they are among a group of animals that change behaviors. This means that they do things in captivity that the won’t do normally in the wild. For the giraffes it has to do with the use of their tongues all the time. This is often due to the fact that they are given toys and other objects for stimulation due to the lack of environment that they have to roam around in.

It is also believed that being fed by humans and foods that aren’t from the trees is part of this. They have a need in the wild to use their long tongues for feeding and drinking so in captivity they need to do things with it to keep it occupied. This is something that many people find upsetting and it drives their mission to stop giraffes from being placed into captivity.

Many people wonder what the diet is for giraffes in captivity. After all when you explore their habitat there they don’t have free access to grass, twigs, leaves, and fruits from the trees. Instead they have a diet that has been carefully balanced to still offer them the level of nutrients their bodies need. This diet includes alfalfa hay, pellets that have additional vitamins in them, crackers with plenty of grain and even tree bark in them, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Their favorites are apples, bananas, and carrots.

The life span for giraffes in captivity isn’t increased much though. In the wild they can live from 15 to 25 years. In captivity that increases from about 32 to 40 years. The biggest change here is that the young have a better chance of living to adulthood. In the wild approximately half of them will be killed in their first year of life by predators. In captivity they are able to become adults and to have offspring themselves.

Others are likely to die in the wild due to forms of parasites that develop in the water. Giraffes will consume lots of water at once which is why they are so harshly affected by it. The water is purified from such problems in captivity so you won’t see them becoming ill and dying from it. They are also carefully monitored for any health concerns to give them the very best life possible while in captivity.

You may notice giraffes laying down quite a bit in captivity and many are concerned about that. They don’t do it nearly as often in the wild due to the fact that it is extremely time consuming for them to get to their feet. They would have no chance to do so before a predator could spring on them.

However, in captivity they don’t have that instinct to stay away from predators because those risks don’t exist. They take the time to carefully fold their legs under the body but they also keep their head in an upright position. In most locations where they are in captivity they have the ability to come up to people and even to consume food out of their hands. This is something that fascinates people but that you won’t see in the wild.