Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.

In his book, A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson:- The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels. When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again.

The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs. Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work. “They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.”


(moral: when you get knocked down, physically or mentally, GET BACK UP!)

food for thought

Female monkeys in Thailand have been observed showing their young how to floss their teeth – using human hair.
Researchers from Japan said they watched seven long-tailed macaques cleaning the spaces between their teeth in the same manner as humans.


Re­search­ers are fas­ci­nated by re­ports of an­i­mal teach­ing be­cause it may re­veal an abil­ity thought to be pos­sibly un­ique to hu­mans—the ca­pacity to in­fer some­one else’s thoughts. This abil­ity, a mile­stone in ev­o­lu­tion, is some­times called “the­ory of mind.”


“do not touch young animals”


The youngsters are purposely placed in a secluded area by their mothers to protect them from predators. Wild animals rarely abandon their young.


When someone thinks they’ve found an (animal) orphan, they should not pick it up, nor kidnap it. It’s probably under the watchful eye of the mother from nearby cover, too frightened to take on a two-legged intruder. And seldom are the young lost or misplaced. Their instincts are to stay in the place where their mother left them, and to merely await her return.


Frequently mothers are alerted to a human presence in the area, and leave their babies temporarily. In all probability she’ll resume charge as soon as the towering creature (you) leaves.


have a definitive day