If you’re among the thousands right now glued to the live stream of a pregnant giraffe in upstate New York, you might be asking yourself: How long do I gotta wait till this giraffe shows me a baby?
Take a breath, settle down and read on: Here’s your giraffe labor cheat sheet.
Q. So how long is a giraffe pregnancy?
Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months and that calves come out hooves first.
Q. What is the size of a newborn giraffe?
The average size of a newborn giraffe is around 6 feet and 150 pounds.
Here's a look at a giraffe that was born at the Denver Zoo on Tuesday:
Q. So what labor signs am I looking for here, exactly? I’ve been watching this giraffe stream for hours, at great cost to personal relationships and workplace productivity.
First, it takes a trained eye: Giraffes keep their pregnancies low profile, instinctively hiding signs of labor from predators who might harm their newborns. Thankfully, experts know what to look for.
Here are the biggest indicators that the good stuff is about to begin:
Water breaking: Look for discharge, which can be “anywhere from a slow trickle to a flow of mucus,” NBC 12 News reported.
Contractions: Stomach movement should come from the calf jostling inside, and the mother will straighten her neck and show movement in her hips, according to the station.
Q. How long will the labor last?
Not long: Once the hooves show it could take as little as 30 minutes, according to Animal Adventure Park, the Harpursville, N.Y. zoo overseeing the birth, but the birth could last up to two hours.
Q. What happens after baby pops out?
More like plops out: Giraffes birth while standing, Animal Planet explains, meaning a six-foot fall to the ground, head first. This abrupt fall “effectively breaks the amniotic sac, severs the umbilical cord, and most importantly encourages the calf to take its first breaths.” Then the mother cleans the calf off before the baby begins to walk, according to the channel’s giraffe birthing guide.
Q. Wow. Life is truly a miracle. What else should I know?
These births are worth celebrating: Giraffes are now classified as “vulnerable” to extinction, having plummeted in numbers by nearly 40% over the last three decades, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).