April the pregnant giraffe, placidly pacing around her pen and nuzzling with her boyfriend (and baby daddy) Oliver the giraffe, has become famous around the world, thanks to Animal Adventure Park’s YouTube live cam showing the growth of her baby bump. But after weeks of waiting, fans of this long-necked animal have just one question: When will she actually give birth?
Animal Adventure Park is now predicting that the much-anticipated birth of the baby will happen soon, and weekend YouTube warriors just might be the ones to view the live birth event, reported ABC 7 News.
This will be her fourth baby, but for baby daddy Oliver, it’s his first experience as a father. Oliver has mated with an older woman: He’s just 5-years-old, while April is 15.
The YouTube live cam showing both giraffes at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, has been supplemented by updates from the vets and the giraffes’ keepers. They recently noticed “significant” changes in her baby bump, providing a hint that the time of birth is getting closer.
“Her body/belly is much less beach balled, as the bulges have streamlined. Perhaps suggesting a new position of calf…we hope for launch sequence!”
Giraffes sometimes eat much more food just prior to birth, and Animal Adventure Park revealed that they observed a boost in the pregnant animal’s appetite on Friday. How can you tell when birth actually begins?
Baby giraffes emerge with their front hooves first, followed by their snouts. They weigh 150 pounds on average, and are typically 6 feet tall.
Oliver won’t play a role in raising his baby, however. Instead, Oliver’s baby mama is on her own when it comes to bringing up the baby, and she could take 6 to 10 months to wean her baby. Once that process is over, the baby will be moved to a different facility to avoid the risk of inbreeding.
Why won’t Oliver help out with the baby work? Animal Adventure Park explained that male giraffes “only really care about two things – fighting and the unmentionable.”
For those intently watching the YouTube live cam wondering what April’s increased appetite signifies and exactly when she’ll give birth, her vet Dr. Tim provided an update on Facebook.
“Everything looks great with our big girl. She is acting completely normal….She is still showing us all the signs that she is almost ready.”
Noting that her “appetite has returned,” Dr. Tim emphasized that there is no need to “worry about her or the calf’s health.” The Animal Adventure Park keepers also revealed that she has a “great appetite and good nature,” and Dr. Tim joked that he decided to try to encourage her.
“I decided to have a little pep talk…to see if we could try to nail down a day, week, month or any sort of time frame,” he teased. “She just isn’t quite ready yet.”
Fans who are watching the YouTube Live cam when she does finally give birth will see a big baby, because according to WKRN, the fact that this long-necked mom has thus far been pregnant for 17 months rather than the typical average gestation period for giraffes of 15 months means the baby may be unusually large.
And although the YouTube Live cam fans haven’t seen what goes into the process, zookeepers sometimes spend years working with giraffes in their care to prepare them for the process of giving birth. This involves getting the female giraffes accustomed to the devices and various technology utilized during the birth that keeps both mom and baby safe. A restraint device may be used to keep giraffes in place for ultrasounds and delivery in case an emergency occurs.
For those watching the YouTube Live cam, it won’t take long to see the baby start to walk. Baby giraffes typically only need 30 minutes to an hour after they are born to begin standing and walking. That ability allows them to nurse from their mothers, and then process to running.
Baby giraffes begin nursing from their mothers soon after birth. They begin eating solid food such as leaves after about four months, but continue nursing for 9 to 12 months. Mother giraffes typically wean their baby between 6 to 17 months.
[Featured Image by Michael Probst/AP Images]