April the Giraffe and her baby daddy Oliver have become an internet phenomenon, thanks to the Animal Adventure Park Giraffe Live Cam on YouTube, which has provided updates about the animal’s pregnancy progress. With signs such as contractions making it evident that the date of delivery is near, April’s team also has provided details about what viewers can expect and how they are speeding up her pregnancy.
Although there were hints that the yet-to-be-named baby would arrive over the weekend, the little long-necked animal apparently preferred to avoid any April Fools’ jokes by staying inside his mommy’s womb. However, viewers of the Giraffe Live Cam on YouTube did observe “pushing” contractions, reported Fox 2 Now.
Ever since Animal Adventure Park started its live cam stream in February on YouTube, the pregnancy has attracted attention around the world. At one point, animal rights activists flagged the live cam as “sexually explicit,” resulting in its removal before it was restored.
Animal Adventure Park provided an update on social media about the contractions that so many had observed.
“Many of you may have witnessed what appeared as ‘pushing’ contractions.”
The vet and the keepers communicated about those pregnancy contractions, noting that it’s possible the baby finally will be born this week.
“Let’s see if April’s plan is to break up your work week!” noted the update.
The zookeepers have revealed that they are adjusting the lights in a new strategy, reported the Express.
“A natural light cycle of the dusk and dawn may help entice/speed up labor [so] you will see us change our treat time and lights out routine to earlier in the day.”
By taking control of the dawn and dusk times, the pregnancy may go faster, according to her keepers. But giraffes have very different sleep cycles than humans.
While April’s team hopes that the natural light cycle in her stable will speed up her pregnancy, giraffes have the shortest sleeping needs for mammals. They average only 30 minutes of sleep daily, usually not sleeping for longer than five minutes at a time. Giraffes usually sleep while they are standing upright because lying on the ground makes them vulnerable to predators.
Fans who are worried about why it seems to be taking so long for April’s fourth calf to be born can relax because her progress is normal in giraffes’ pregnancies, according to NBC New York.
This will be the first baby giraffe born at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, and the zoo offered some tips on what to expect when the calf is born.
Giraffes’ pregnancies typically take approximately 15 months or 453 to 464 days before the baby, called a calf, is born. Adult female giraffes are called cows, while the male adult giraffes are called bulls.
Baby giraffes emerge front hooves first, followed by the snout. They weigh 100 to 150 pounds and are about six feet tall. Mother giraffes wean their babies for six to 10 months, and the calf’s first steps are important in order for nursing to begin.
Baby giraffes start walking just 30 minutes to an hour after they emerge into the world, and they can even run on that first day. Although they nurse for as long as a year, baby giraffes also can start chomping on solid food such as carrots and hay after four months.
In the wild, male giraffes remain with their mothers for 15 months before they take off to join other males in a group. Although female giraffes leave their moms when they are approximately 18 months old, they continue to live with their herd.
How long will April, Oliver, and their baby live? Although giraffes have a lifespan in the wild of 10 to 15 years, they can live up to 27 years in captivity.
As for whether the world will see a baby girl or baby boy born on the Giraffe Live Cam, Animal Adventure Park revealed that they plan to share the news of gender via a text system, reported CBS Denver.
Text alerts will be used both for announcing the baby’s gender and to have a contest for the name. You can learn more about how to sign up here.
[Featured Image by Michael Probst/AP Images]