April the giraffe remains a viral sensation. She also remains pregnant. As millions of viewers watch the live giraffe cam that streams from Animal Adventure Park (AAP), there is one question people want answers to. When will April go into active labor? According to the giraffe husbandry manual, there are two signs that indicate when a giraffe will go into active labor. These include the shedding of wax caps and milk filling the udders. April is a 15-year-old reticulated giraffe who lives at the AAP with her five-year-old mate Oliver “Ollie.” AAP staff noticed mating behavior in October 2015, and are expecting a baby calf to be born soon. The Animal Adventure Park set up a live cam from the giraffe barn that shows April in her stall. The cam will remain active for several days after April gives birth, then they will provide video updates. You may watch the live streaming giraffe cam from the Animal Adventure Park in the video player below.
Did you know that the live cam will stop streaming 24/7 after April has her calf? Enjoy watching the giraffe cam now, while you can.
The giraffe husbandry manual discusses mating behaviors, reproduction, labor, and delivery behaviors associated with both wild and captive giraffes. The manual is available in PDF format and on page 48, it specifically discusses giraffe udders, milk and the changes that occur before active labor begins. Speaking of signs to expect before birth, the manual states the following.
“The teats start to enlarge about 19 days before parturition and milk production occurs about two days before.”
Parturition is another word for active labor that results in delivery. According to the manual, milk will enter April’s udders and then active labor that results in birth should occur within two days.
There had been many misconceptions and mistakes made regarding when April will deliver her giraffe calf. Because giraffes are extremely fertile and have a gestation period of approximately 450 days. Giraffes may conceive every 17 days and even every 14 days. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint an exact due date. Other signs that a giraffe will soon enter active labor are an increase in calf activity, a growing stomach and changes in the back area, such as with the vulva. April is making wonderful progress in her journey to active labor and is regularly examined by veterinarian Dr. Tim. In the photo below, you can see the calf jetting or sticking out against her belly. April’s belly and udders continue to grow larger. Once the Animal Adventure Park announces she has shed the wax caps and milk is in, we can expect active labor within two days.
It can be difficult to see April’s udders while watching the live giraffe cam. Since the udders are an invaluable tool used to get an idea when active labor will begin, it’s important to watch them for changes. The last photo we have of April’s udders is from the Animal Adventure Park and was shared in the March 18, 2017, evening update. The photo accompanies photos of April’s stomach after the Animal Adventure Park staff and live cam viewers noticed changes. The photo of April’s udders indicates noticeable growth. At this point, the changes necessary for active labor are being achieved, but the requirements as expressed in the giraffe husbandry manual for active labor within two days still haven’t been met. Once the Animal Adventure Park announces April has shed the wax caps and is producing milk, we can officially begin the countdown to the calf’s birth.
Are you watching and waiting for April the giraffe to go into active labor? Have you enjoyed the experience of learning about giraffes and watching April and Oliver’s antics, live streaming online? The giraffe cam is not only the most popular animal video on YouTube but many teachers, educators, and homeschoolers are using the live feed in classrooms and other educational environments. Has the live giraffe cam become a regular item in your household or school? Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock]