Giraffe's feet are around the size of a dinner plate - a diameter of around 30 cm.
Giraffe's tongues are bluish-purple and between 45 and 50 cms long.
Female giraffes give birth standing up. When the baby giraffe is born, the young fall around 2 metres to the ground. The impact of the fall breaks the placenta and starts the heart and within 1 hour, a newly born giraffe can stand. Quite often mothers will gently also kick the newborn to help take its first breaths of life.
In fact, giraffes normally also sleep standing up. In the wild, there is always a threat from predators, so if they splay their legs/bend their knees, lowering them closer to the ground, then they are much more susceptible as prey.
The ones at Monarto are seen splaying their legs as fortunately, they feel secure and safe, with no threat from predators. Giraffes will also splay their legs to reach water in watering holes, which they only drink once every few days.
The jugular veins in a giraffe have incredibly elastic walls and large one-way valves that allow the veins to expand considerably and prevent the blood from flowing back to the brain when the giraffe's head is lowered.
Giraffe calves usually drink milk from their mother until around 9 - 12 months and at 3 months are introduced to leaves, slowly replacing milk for solid food.
A giraffe's' life expectancy is around 25 years.
A maximum group of 11 participants meet at the Visitor Information Centre at 2 pm each day and the experience duration is 50 minutes.
A minibus with an experienced and knowledgeable guide/driver picks you up to drive you around to the giraffe's habitat area. The area you are taken to encompasses the "Bachelor Herd", the males who are in a separate enclosure from the females, particularly those with calves.
Upon arrival, the first thing that strikes you is the massive size and majesty of the giraffes, especially when you are right up close to them. The beautiful colour markings on the body as well as their long eyelashes help soften their majestic appearance.
Giraffes are herbivores and some of their favourite foods are either Mimosa or Acacia leaves. Due to their height, they are considered browsers, not grazers, which means they will munch on the upper canopies of trees, not on ground level.
Monarto offers Acacia as one of their favourite foods and keepers regularly attach branches to feeding stations for giraffes to enjoy. Giraffes can eat up to over 34 kgs of food per day - a massive amount.
One of their favourite treats is carrots, which they relish - a bit like how we might enjoy a fresh cake or pastry from a patisserie with our coffee! As part of the Monarto experience, it can take a little enticing to get the giraffes to stop munching on their acacia and investigate the carrots.
The guide demonstrates to our group how to feed the carrots to them, and with a large bucket of entire carrots (not cut up), the giraffes approach, with their long dark purple tongues slithering and twisting around the girth of the carrot, with it fast disappearing down their throats.
The tongue's length allows the giraffe to reach high up foods along with its height. The dark purple colouring also protects the tongue from the sun and it is thick so as to protect it from thorns in the wild. Fascinatingly, giraffes also don't have upper front teeth, which enable them to chew and rip leaves off branches.
There are plenty of photo opportunities and if you are on your own, the guide will be more than happy to take your photo alongside the munching giraffes with your smartphone/camera.
The time seems to go quite quickly and before too long the bucket of carrots has been emptied and the giraffes then return to the upper reaches of foliage for further nutrition.
If you are keen to be a part of the Giraffe Safari, a word of warning - like most of the other experiences at Monarto, they book out quite quickly, so suggest you book your experience online before you visit the park. We were fortunate on the day, that there were still 3 spots left, but there is no guarantee this will always be the case.
For an adult, the experience is $55, and for members $50. For concession, the prices are $50 for non-members and $45 for members. For children, it will set them back $40 for a non-member and $35 for a member.
It is also important to remember that this price does not include entry into Monarto. That will be an additional cost of $40.50 for Adults, $29.50 for concessions and $21.50 for children 4 and over (children under 4 free). If you are a member of Zoos SA or other reciprocal Australian Zoos, general admission entry to the park is free.
When you buy a ticket for the giraffe safari, part of the proceeds are utilised for several purposes, including maintaining a successful breeding program and partnering with an organisation called Giraffe Conservation Foundation, which raises valuable funds for Twiga Tracker, the largest giraffe GPS satellite tracking program in Africa, which provides important information regarding giraffes' spatial movements and habitat use in the wild.
You will find Monarto Safari Park at 63 Monarto Road, Monarto. Follow signage off the South-Eastern Freeway before you reach Murray Bridge.
Monarto Safari Park is open daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm, with the last Zu Loop bus leaving the visitor information centre at 3pm.