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SCIENCE FILE | I Didn't Know That ...

September 05, 1996

Q: When giraffes swim, is their neck completely out of the water or submerged so that only their head is above the surface?

A: Neither, according to Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo. "They sink like a rock," he said. Because of their ungainly legs and neck and their high weight--1,200 to 1,600 pounds--"they are one of the poorest swimmers in the family" of hoofed animals, he said. Giraffes who lose their footing while walking in water, he noted, "often drown. I have never seen one swim at all." .

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