By Terry Gardner
10:14 AM EDT, June 4, 2013
She stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and is quite a looker. But San Francisco Zoo's new giraffe is just a baby.
The baby giraffe was born May 22, the daughter of Kirstin and Floyd, both 11-year-old reticulated giraffes.
The as-yet-unnamed giraffe made her debut Friday, at 9 days old, in the African Savannah exhibit. "The calf showed she has a lot of spunk when interacting with the herd through her sudden bouts of exuberance and curious personality," said Jill Andrews, an assistant curator at the zoo.
In the video above, the calf appears to be eating leaves, but Andrews said she was just imitating her mom. The new addition "will mouth leaves and sticks, but she is not able to properly digest these items at first," Andrews said. The calf should be able to start digesting food in about a month and will stop nursing when she's about a year old.
The calf is a little bit smaller than average. Andrews said most giraffes are 6 feet tall and weigh 150 pounds at birth. After a gestation period from 422 to 450 days (humans average 266 days), giraffe mothers give birth standing up. Newborn calves don't immediately stand but do within an hour after birth.
Giraffes usually grow to be 18 feet tall and weight about 3,000 pounds. Reticulated giraffes have dark brown coloring with a grid-like, or reticulated, pattern of narrow white lines over most of their body.
Loss of habitat and poaching have made the San Francisco Zoo's giraffe herd genetically valuable to the species. "With 3,000 to 5,000 left in the wild, they are soon to be listed as endangered," Andrews said.
Mom Kristin has given birth to three other calves, in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
The zoo now has five reticulated giraffes. Floyd is the only male.
Check out the tweet about the newborn from Zoo Borns, below:
Info: San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway. Adult admission: $15. (Discounts are available for seniors, children and San Francisco residents.)
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times