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Gerenuk Baby Born at Animal Kingdom
It has to be one of the sweetest baby animals you can find – the new baby gerenuk calf which was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, at the end of 2009. Of course, Disney is world renowned for its programme if animal breeding and conservation, and each year many species are successfully bred at Animal Kingdom. But this little female calf, named Squirt is really cute.
Weighing just eight pounds, which is comparable to a human baby, this is the 28th gerenuk calf born at Animal Kingdom. Gestation is around seven months and the new baby measures a little under two feet tall. Her mother, Sushaunna, is five years old, whilst her father, Jingle, is a little older at nine years. The word, gerenuk is Somali for ‘giraffe necked, ’ and unlike most African antelopes and gazelles, which graze on low grasses, the gerenuks use their legs, standing up on their back legs to reach the taller bushes, and even to eat leaves from trees. We have often been delighted to see these graceful creatures on our safari rides at Animal Kingdom, and they can also be seen near the meerkats, on the amazing Panani Forest Exploration Trail.
Their natural habitat is the dry bushy scrubland of Somalia, and they are ideally adapted to their habitat which tends to be dry and arid. Because they get enough moisture from the plants and leaves that they eat they don’t need to drink much. They enjoy eating the tender leaves and shoots of prickly bushes and small trees, but they will also eat flowers, fruit, buds and climbing plants. When grown into adulthood the gerenuk can reach up to three feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh anything from 80 to 115 lbs.
They have delicate features, with a long and slender neck. Their heads are quite small, and almost triangular in shape, but they have extremely large ears and eyes. Males can grow up to 105 cm tall, and have horns, whilst females are shorter, ranging from 80 cm to 100 cm. The male is heavier, too. In the wild they live for anything up to eight years, but in captivity this increases to thirteen years or more. They have short tails, and are brown on their backs with lighter coloured fur underneath on their belly, and white round their eyes.
If you visit Animal Kingdom then you are sure to see these delightful creatures.
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