Die Kameelperd and the Giraffe Who Reached for God is the next story-time installment in die babadiertjies van Afrika, baby animals from Africa series you can enjoy here, on my blog.
Die kameelperd is die hoogste dier ter wêreld. Hy is ‘n herkouer en hy verkies om die oop veld tussen doringbome rond te loop waar hy na hartelus die sappige blaartjie bo van die toppe af kan pluk.
Die klein kameelperdjie staan by geboorte al klaar amper twee meter hoog. Wanneer hy volgroeid is, kan hy tot selfs ses meter hoog wees.
Die kameelperd het lang, dun bene, gesplete hoewe en twee knoetsies bokant sy oortjies wat later in langer, velbedekte horings ontwikkel.
Die koei het gewoonlik net een kalfie, en die klein kameelperdjie moet maar buite sy gesinskring vir hom ‘n maat gaan soek wanneer hy die gewilde stoeispel van die kameelperde wil speel. Hierdie speletjie is ‘n eienaardige skouspiel: die twee kameelperdjies probeer om mekaar met hulle nekke onderstebo te stamp. Dit is egter alles sommer speletjies en niemand kry in die proses seer nie.
Hulle aartsvyand is die leeu, en wanneer hulle hom gewaar, maak die jong kameelperd op sy voorkoms staat om hom te beskerm. Hulle velkleur dmelt byna volmaak met die ligen skadukolle tussen die bome saam, en bied hulle goeie beskerming.
Daar is aansienlike kleurverskille onder kameelperde: die een is bleek van vel met klein, verspreide vlekke, terwyl ‘n ander weer ‘n donkerder vel en meer en groter kolle het.
Die kameelperd het egter ‘n baie lang tong (tot veertig sentimeter lank), waarmee hy boomblaartjies kan afstroop. Hy kan baie goed sien en hulle reuk – en gehoorsintuie is ook baie goed ontwikkel. Hulle kan ook vinnig hardloop. Dis juis omdat die kameelperd hierdie fyn sintuie het, dat bobbejane en ander boksoorte baie graag met hulle saamtrek en hulle as brandwagte gebruik.
Alhoewel jong kameelperdjies net vir die pret met mekaar stoei, sal ouer kameelperde tog ‘n geveg tot die dood toe aanknoop om die leierskap van ‘n trop.
The Giraffe – Did You Know?
The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. It is called a ruminant who prefers to walk around the open field between thorn trees, where it chooses, to its heart content, all the juicy leaves growing only on the tree tops.
The calf, the giraffe’s baby, is already almost two meters tall when it is born. When fully grown, it can reach a height of up to six meters.
The giraffe has long, thin legs, split hooves and, when it is born, two lumps above its ears that later develop into longer, skin-covered horns.
The cow, the giraffe mom, has usually only one calf, and the little calf has only to look outside his family circle when he wants to play a game of wrestling with another calf. For a spectator, this game can be a strange spectacle as the two giraffes will push each other using only their muscular necks. However, this is just a game and no one gets hurt in the process.
Their arch-enemy is the lion, and whenever they spot him, the giraffes rely on their appearance to protect themselves. Their skin color blends in almost perfectly with the light and shady spots twinkling between the trees.
There are significant differences between the skin patterns of various giraffes: some have pale skin with small, scattered spots, while others have darker skin with more numerous, larger spots.
But above all, or perhaps to match her neck, the giraffe has a very long tongue, up to forty centimeters long, with which it can even peel off petals. Giraffes can see very well while their smell and hearing senses are also very well developed. They can also run fast. It is precisely because the giraffe has such well tuned senses that baboons and other antelope species like to congregate with the giraffes and use a tower of giraffes, as a group of giraffes is called, as defense.
Sadly, although young giraffes wrestle with each other just for fun, older giraffes will still fight to the death for the leadership of a herd.
Giraffes are well-known throughout Africa for their natural curiosity.
The Giraffe Who Reached for God OR Why Giraffes Have such Long Necks
Word of mouth among the Baobabs, these upside down trees, and among Marula trees, these magical African trees, and, of course, among the Thorn trees… well, rumor on the grapevine goes that long ago, one bright morning, God spoke to His brand new created animals as to their purpose on this earth.
Now God had called Giraffes thus, in His own words, but on earth, unaware, His different tribes were calling the giraffes on their own mother tongue. The Zulus and Xhosa called it indlulamithi, the Sotho called it thuhlo, while the Shona people called it Twiga.
So when the Giraffe’s turn came, God addressed it softly and so the loving Twiga stretched her neck to heaven to hear Him more clearly.
She stood on her tiptoes, her round, brown eyes large and focused, her long eyelashes reaching up to her eyebrows, her ears twitching and quivering, giving God her full attention.
God was so pleased with her eagerness that He decided, right then and there, to reward her so He bestowed upon her a long, elegant neck. So she could hear Him better, but also so she could reach the tops of the tallest trees, where He knew that the sweetest of the leaves grew.
And to this day, all animals know that God rewards the extra effort. In Africa.
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