It’s March 23, and April the giraffe is still pregnant. While fans don’t know the exact day or hour she will deliver, there are physical changes April must undergo before active labor begins. These include changes to her belly and changes in her udders.
According to Australasian Zookeeping’s Giraffe Husbandry Manual (page 48), a giraffe’s udders will enlarge and become filled with milk approximately two days before going into active labor and giving birth. Since the Australasian Zookeeping uses a giraffe’s udders as a precursor for determining labor, the Inquisitr wanted to share photos and compare changes that April has experienced.
April is a 15-year-old reticulated giraffe who lives at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, with her 5-year-old mate, Oliver (aka “Ollie”). AAP owner Jordan Patch set up a live stream of April’s giraffe stall to document and share her pregnancy and live birth with the world. More than a million people have watched the cam, contributing to the phenomenon that is April the giraffe. If you haven’t watched the live giraffe cam, you can do so in the video player below.
When April the giraffe first went viral, there were several misconceptions that permeated the media, and many of these were attributed to overzealous news outlets and general difficulty in determining a giraffe’s birthing window or due date. Additionally, April is the first pregnant giraffe that the Animal Adventure Park has in their care. As much as this is a learning experience for the public, it is also a learning experience for the staff.
Every time there is a change in April’s behavior or appearance, it is the first time the AAP staff has dealt with this. April’s pregnancy and subsequent active labor, delivery, and birth of her calf is not just a first for many watching the live cam, but for those at the Animal Adventure Park as well. It is rare that they would choose to share this experience with the world.
Toward the end of February, it was believed that April had shed the wax caps over her udders. This was significant because April must shed the wax caps and have milk before active labor begins. It was even suspected she may have been leaking milk. After being reevaluated and seeing some changes April has experienced, it was realized that she still had the wax caps and the condition of her udders did not indicate immediate or active labor. As of today, April’s wax caps are still present. Once they truly shed, viewers can look forward to the onset of active labor.
On March 18, the Animal Adventure Park shared three photos, and their evening update compared and contrasted April’s belly and udders from previous photos. April’s udders had grown since previous reports and changes in April’s belly warranted a special visit from veterinarian Dr. Tim. April’s belly and udders continue to grow, but at this point, the wax caps are still present, and there are no indications that active labor will begin with the two-day timeframe suggested by the giraffe husbandry manual.
If you compare the size of April’s udders in the photos posted on March 18, 2017, with the photos shared on March 12, 2017, you’ll see there is a noticeable difference. While the wax caps indicate she is not ready for immediate labor, there is no denying that April is moving in the right direction. According to the update, the change in a giraffe’s udders is a subtle one. Even taking that into consideration, viewers can see an obvious difference in size. Keep a look out for news that April has shed the wax caps, as then fans will really have an idea of how soon it will be until she enters active labor.
Although the last photo of April’s udders was posted on March 18, the Animal Adventure Park shared in their March 23 morning update that the wax caps are still present. You can see that update below.
Are you a fan of April? Are you watching the live giraffe cam? Stay tuned for more updates and news.
[Featured Image by Edwin Butter/Shutterstock]