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A Spotless Giraffe!

A giraffe at a zoo in Tennessee has no spots. How rare is that?

Three panels showing a solid brown giraffe calf, with two of the photos showing the spotted mother giraffe.

Courtesy of Brights Zoo

Unlike her mom, Kipekee the giraffe has no spots at all!

A giraffe without spots is super rare. So when a giraffe at a zoo in Tennessee gave birth to a solid brown calf, everyone was talking!

The female calf was born on July 31 at Brights Zoo. Like her mom, she’s a reticulated giraffe, one of four different giraffe species. All giraffe species have spots, or patches. The spots help the animals remain camouflaged, or hidden, from predators such as lions. But very rarely, a calf is born without any spots at all.

How rare is a spotless giraffe? The last known spotless reticulated giraffe was Toshiko, a calf born in 1972 in Tokyo, Japan. Scientists know of only two others. One was Toshiko’s older sibling, and the other was a giraffe born in Uganda.

The zoo celebrated the calf’s birth by asking followers on its Facebook page to choose a name. All the names are Swahili, which is a language spoken in Kenya, home to the largest population of reticulated giraffes. The name choices were Kipekee, Firyali, Shakiri, and Jamella. Kipekee received 16,000 votes, more than any other name.

Welcome to the world, Kipekee!

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Fun Fact

A giraffe walking in grass with labels showing its neck and legs are approximately six feet long.

© Stu Porter/; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

A giraffe’s legs and neck are about the same length!

Sleeping Beauties

A sleeping giraffe lies on the ground with its neck stretched over its back.

© Picture by Tambako the Jaguar/Getty Images

How would you sleep if your neck was 6 feet (2 meters) long? Giraffes mostly sleep standing up. But when they go into a deep sleep, they curl up like pretzels!

Giraffes need only about four hours of sleep a night, which is about half the amount of sleep that humans need.

Check Me Out!

© Edwin Remsberg—The Image Bank/Getty Images

There’s a lot more to learn about giraffes!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: unusual or surprising : likely to be noticed

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