Signs a Giraffe is in Labor

Since so many of us are on #babygiraffewatch, I thought we should put together a list of signs a giraffe is in labor… because that is what homeschool moms do, right? We are demonstrating being #lifelonglearners for our children. Part of that research is here in this article, part of it is in the article where we have the giraffe cam embedded (so we didn’t have to watch the obnoxious chat) but don’t miss the article I wrote to share some crafts, activities and unit studies on giraffes.

First thing we all probably need to realize is that giraffes hide their signs of being in labor as a natural instinct. Think about it… when they are in the wild, during the time when they are giving birth would have to be one of their most vulnerable times! Because of this vulnerability, they hide the fact that they are in labor and when they are finally in labor it moves FAST. If she were in the wild, out in the open – predators can see and smell it. The delivery will probably be between 20 and 30 minutes minutes. The baby will be standing in less than an hour after it is born. Note this video is not from April’s zoo, but another zoo which recently had a pregnant giraffe. They share some of the signs to watch for, so I thought it would be great to hear from an expert on this subject.


If you have been vigilantly watching April and missed her giving birth, here is the video!

Yes there are signs we might see as we are watching and waiting! These signs may include restlessness, tail raised, shedding of the wax caps on her teats, loss of appetite, swelling in the hind quarter, biting or licking her flanks and many others. As we discussed in our first article, giraffes give birth standing up. The baby giraffe falls — head and hooves first — from a height of 6 feet.

What a dramatic entrance into the world, right? But of course there is a reason for it… this delivery breaks the amniotic sac, the fluid-filled pouch that protects the fetus in the womb, it severs the umbilical cord, and forces the calf to start breathing on its own (essentially being it’s swat on the bum). After the giraffe calf is born, mom giraffe will clean it (licking it) and amazingly… Within 20 to 45 minutes after the birth, the calf will try to stand. Within an hour, it will start nursing. How amazing and miraculous!!

On another note, it is such a blessing to see Giraffes thriving in zoos because they are struggling to survive in the wild right now. Their status was recently changed to vulnerable, which is just one step away from endangered! Their population numbers have plummeted 40 percent in the past 30 years. So these beautiful, graceful animals are at risk!! We need to work together to stop poaching and the loss of their habitats! I can’t even imagine a world where giraffes are extinct!! So I’m very thankful that zoos are having such wonderful success with the breeding of giraffes!

Speaking of zoos and giraffes being bred, let’s get back to watching April’s live webcam!!

If you are here because of April, here is an update on her:


March 16

Morning Update

What a long evening! Many of you were up with us around 1:30 am EST and the following hours, and witnessed some very interesting behavior that had us on edge. Though, this morning, all has seemed to settle. We will continue to watch and monitor throughout the day.

Today will bring another day of snow movement and dig out from storm Stella. We do expect to go Facebook LIVE at some point, to show you the amounts of snow and to answer questions!

So, today, instead of your supportive comments, please ask a question that you would like answered! We will tackle as many as possible in a short time frame!

Yes, our Giraffe Cam is also seeking an additional sponsor to jump start our initiative to support Giraffe Conservation. As we have stated from day one, the naming contest will support wild population conservation, but a new giraffe cam sponsor can get that ball rolling before our baby is on the ground. A third of the sponsorship will go towards Conservation efforts by supporting an organization we believe to have set up a relationship with in Africa (that should be confirmed and announced later today), A third to our annual Ava’s Little Heroes Event & Fund to help children with unexpected medical emergencies, and the balance for the continued care of our animals at the park.

There is no valuation on this set by us (current valuations are media derived), so – lets see what good we can do!

Giraffe Factoid of the day: KEEP YOUR EYE ON WILD GIRAFFES. Scientists and conservationists believe there to be less than 100,000 giraffes left in the wilds of Africa. THAT, is a scary thing!

March 15

Morning Report

April is doing what she does best, and waiting, and we are thankful! April’s condition remains the same as days prior, for which we are thankful.

April and Oliver are doing well in their heated barn, while 2-3′ of snow encapsulate the property. All other stock is sheltered in place and comfortable.

During this busy time, updates will be kept short and nonessential emails and inquiries will be addressed when appropriate.

I have to personally thank Joel, Allysa, Corey, & Olivia that have remained on site for over 24 hours to ensure the safety and well being of our animal family. When even the postal service had to bow out, our keepers have remained on duty!

Giraffe Factoid of the Day: Though known for their long necks, giraffes actually have the same number of neck vertebrae as humans—which is seven total. Each vertebra is rather large, measuring up to ten inches long. These large and massive bones are what prevent serious injury when males engage in necking behavior.

March 14

Evening Update

We remain in a holding pattern. No significant change from this morning or last night, though all signs are still present – suggesting we are at the end of the pregnancy. Slight discharge, swelling, pulsing, etc. Keepers reported that baby is very active this evening. April remains in STELLAr (did you get that snowstorm joke) condition.

We remain under the attack of Snowstorm Stella. All animals are safe and comfortable, keepers remain on site this evening to continue to ensure proper conditions.

Procedures are in place to get the necessary individuals to the site should April begin to birth.

Morning Update

Animal Care is up and at it early today. In addition to animal needs, storm Stella has began to unload on our area and the park will need be made accessible.

Behavior observed at 4/4:30 am EST did warrant a check of condition. Keeper report indicates April remains in the same condition as observed in earlier overnight checks.

The storm has, and will likely, continue to disrupt signal. The cam may go off line and then restart.

March 13

Evening Update

Are you on the edge of your seat?

Afternoon and evening keeper and vet checks continue to indicate significant changes in April. Her back end has become significantly larger and relaxed, motion and pulsing in this area has been noted, and discharge has been observed. Ladies and gentlemen – we are close. We are still not confirming active labor, but will state all physical signs are headed in the right direction.

The youtube feed will remain online through the process, Facebook LIVE will also provide updates. A professional crew will be onsite to document the birth also.

Again, be patient, she has fooled us before. We can simply suggest staying tuned into the feed, subscribing to the youtube channel, and also our FB notifications. We will do everything in our power to keep you posted.

Staff will remain onsite this evening to stay with April and also begin mitigating snow levels as they begin to pile early tomorrow morning. Stay safe, stay warm, and bring your animals inside!

Morning Update

We start another week without a calf! There is no question that April is looking larger than ever. Morning keeper check reports active kicking and noticeable growth/drop in belly.

Significant snow storm heading our way early tomorrow morning. The team is preparing accordingly – as we do – with any weather activity of concern.

Quick reminder that emails are less and less likely to be seen and responded to at this time due to volume. Questions are best asked in comments on our posts – for us to address in our weekly video update.

Factoid of the day: The horns on giraffes are actually called ossicones. Both males and females have them! When calves are born, the ossicones lie flat on the head, and after birth, the cartilage becomes erect and begins to fasten to the skull.

March 12

Morning Update

April and Oliver remain inside during our horrendous cold spell.

April continues to be in great condition. Today, we have posted the shot from underneath, to show you our keeper’s perspective. Wax caps are present and udder appears to possibly have more content – another few days of comparative photo will confirm changes. Giraffes do not “bag out” like cows, goats, pigs, or other animals in lactation. It is a very subtle fill and development.

Significant baby/belly movement this early morning (3-4am) and again around 7 am.

Factoid of the day: Wax caps are what develops on the teats of the udder to keep colostrum in the udder, to ensure it is there for baby’s first nursing. Colostrum is a form of milk that is produced and holds the many antibodies and other essentials to allow any new baby to thrive. Caps are shed just prior or during delivery, or can be removed by the suckle of the baby.

March 11

Morning Update

Brrrrrrrrrr! Single digits have settled in our area, but the giraffe barn remains a warm retreat for the giraffes and our keepers! To combat the extended stay indoors, enrichment does increase for our animals – and this week we will begin to move some of that enrichment into view of the web cam so you can see just how much (or little) interest our giraffes have in their toys!

April continues to do great, Keepers noted no significant changes this morning in physical appearance. We are watching the udder closely, as we wait for milk to fill the area. When our keepers bend down to look underneath, they snap a photo for development comparison.

Giraffe Factoid of the Day to share with a stranger: Giraffa camelopardalis, the scientific name of giraffe, comes from the ancient Greeks’ noting the animals looked like a camel wearing a leopard’s coat.

March 10

Evening Update

Both Keeper & Vet reports bring no significant changes. Of course, April’s Belly is large and active, but no discharge or other pressing signs of any drastic changes.

Appetites have been strong!

It will be a cold evening and day in Upstate NY, so like our giraffes, we encourage you to hunker down, stay warm, and relax.

Have a great evening and we can’t thank you all enough for your support!

Morning Update

April continues to have us all on edge; when will it be – we just don’t know! All physical signs show we are ready for “launch sequence”. So, we continue to patiently wait.

Extreme cold and even snow has moved in; so our pair will remain inside today but enjoy their extra enrichment and attention.

Giraffe Factoid to share with a stranger today: Giraffes have one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal! They sleep 10 minutes to 2 hours a day; comprised of short cat naps.

The Weather Channel interviewed Jordan Patch, the park’s owner, and he answers the questions you’ve been asking! Here is that video:

March 9

Morning Update

April kept my eyes on the screen most the night and this morning; but we start the day without a new calf on the ground. All in due time and without a rush. She continues to be in great physical and mental condition.

Strong winds and dropping temperatures may keep our giraffes inside today and the next stretch of days. Seems winter is refusing to let go of Upstate NY. Once conditions are safe again, the giraffes will have yard access. During indoor stints you may observe extra keeper bonding time, enrichment, and training sessions.

A wee little hedgehog baby – or “hoglet” – was welcomed by a new mom yesterday in our education department animal line-up.

A quick congrats on the giraffe mask wearing mom; and her new son! April doesn’t appreciate the extra pressure, but she will get over it! Congrats to you Erin and your family!

Today’s Giraffe Factoid: Giraffe are already extinct in at least seven countries in Africa

Have a Great Day World!

March 8

Evening Update

All is well in Giraffe Land!

We are experiencing severe winds this evening which resulted in the feed going offline earlier.

April is same as reported this morning — belly changes are obvious from week prior comparisons. Allysa, our zoologist, and lead giraffe keeper was able to get hands on with April and make “contact” with baby once again this evening (and morning). Be patient world — I think we are all being taught a lesson here!

The giraffes both enjoyed time out in their yards today – though April preferred to once again linger in her doorway.

Morning Update

Good morning! The sun is shining and warm temperatures remain another day! The giraffes will enjoy yard time again today; IF they choose to go out.

We do not know why last evenings update did not post, and also another email server has gone wacky – so we have talked to the Russian (tortoises) at the park – and they have ensured us – no interference with our platforms. No hack scandal here!

April remains in great condition with no concerns from keepers or our vet team. Activity in the belly remains very visible to the eye – even through the web cam! Slow and steady – mother nature has everything timed right. Keepers will be in shortly and any change will warrant an update!

We send our sincere condolences to the keepers of The North Carolina Zoo. The loss of any animal in one’s care is heart breaking. Jamili, like all other giraffes, holds a curious nature, and short attention span. Accidents can and do happen. Tragedies can and do strike, and this is certainly an unexpected tragedy.

We wish you all a great day, the virtue of patience, and the motivation to engage! Your goal today – talk to a stranger about Giraffes – bonus points for conservation facts!

March 7

Morning Update

April had a very active night that did keep us glued to the cam screen! She settled in around 5:00 and got a few good naps in. Not much else to report on physical or behavioral change.

They also had two Facebook Lives this morning… Here are those:

March 6

Morning Update

April is in a much better mood today; but we completely understand her swings! She is a big girl and getting bigger. Last week, compared to this week, provides even further belly development and drop.

Though the morning is cold, they may get yard time in today – if conditions are safe – otherwise tomorrow will bring warm temps and hours outdoors!

Vet report is all positive and happy with progression.

March 5

Evening Update

What many are calling an omen of the impending birth; the face and neck of a young giraffe appeared in the bedding this afternoon. Pretty neat if you ask us!

April was reportedly on edge this afternoon during veterinary examination. This evening, keeper report suggests a bit more calm now.
There is a significant amount of belly movement and tail raising. Appetite is notably strong also.

All around, we are all happy with her progress and continued condition. Of course, we are also ready for the next phase in this journey – but truly enjoying the moment.

Morning Update

All Is Well! We did experience some glitches last night, both on the video feed and the facebook page, but we believe those have been resolved. Our apologies on the cam being down for some time and the Evening Update that was drafted, but did not post.
We encourage our followers not to email us when the feed goes offline – trust us – we know – we are watching too! The mailbox must now be purged due to volume – loosing many educational emails from schools – that we do try to respond to!

April continues to be a very much pregnant giraffe! She was reported as being a little “spooky” last evening, which was likely due to the many intense baby kicks observed by keepers. Wax caps are still present though, back left teat appears to be shedding. Appetite remains strong. Comparative video and photos from one week ago provide significant growth visuals.

We hope today to be our last of winter! Morning temperatures are in the single digits with snow and ice still on the ground. The coming week looks much more promising. The Mirabito Energy Products Giraffe Barn does stay nice and warm – maintaining a constant 60-62 degrees at giraffe chest level. We thank Mirabito for their sponsorship to keep our giraffes and budget comfortable!

March 4

Morning Update

Pregnancy belly has never looked so good!

April, as many of you observed, had a good night but very active. A few times, she appeared to perhaps contract, but we cannot confirm that was the true reasoning. We must remember a 6′ 150# baby is performing acrobatic routines inside! Keepers report she has a large appetite this morning, and is enjoying morning treats.

Blistery cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind will keep Oliver, April, and many of our other animals in safe spaces today. Temperatures will be rising in the coming days and warrant yard time and yield sunshine! Remember – inside days mean extra love and treats and enrichment to keep everyone happy!

March 3

Evening Update

Not much change to report. Continued belly movements! Back end remains quite large with visibly pink coloring. No significant reports from care staff or vet.

The cold has taken hold! Oliver and April enjoyed a lot of extra attention today with many media guests – which always means treats! New York City media outlets; NBC and The NY Times. To think we were 70 degrees a week ago, with the giraffes out in their yard! Will be another day or so before conditions are safe again.

March 1

February 28

Mid day Update:

April and Oliver are well! We have received frantic emails of a video of her birthing and laying on the calf. That is not the case. Tonight’s YouTube super chat with keepers and park staff will be 8pm-9pm Eastern again.

Morning Update:

April had a good night and is as large as ever. Keepers have documented an evening of her sides. The calf was generally carried on her left side, but all has become proportionate. Activity remains normal, behavior normal. Yard time will be granted this morning once temperatures rise to a safe level.

February 27

Evening Update:

April has us on our toes! then our heels, then our toes, then our heels! Major changes have been noticed in her back end, but from hour to hour we are see a different state. Our photo documentation looks very out of order, but its not. You will notice her belly is looking nice and tight – perhaps a bit raised. Major baby kicks continue. Appetite was strong this evening at PM feed, but touched little hay in the afternoon. The vet reported she was very needy during his exam.

Both giraffes enjoyed yard time today, though they preferred to stand in their doorways and gaze out.

Morning Update:

Keeper’s report – all is well in the barn. April is eating breakfast this morning and body condition remains as day prior. Continued movement of baby inside, and big baby kicks, are noticeably obvious. Through the evening April had to find her right positioning to feel comfortable to lay down, which is evidence of continued growth and position change of the calf. Do not be concerned, it is natural and worked out by mom on her own.

Today will yield warmer temperatures from yesterday’s flash freeze, allowing a little bit of yard time for mom, and of course time for Oliver.

Still no baby, we have not announced active labor, mom and baby are happy and healthy.

Tonight, again, we will host a Keeper & Park Management LIVE chat on our youtube Page from 8 pm – 9 pm EST – though it may be extended longer with participation. It is a very quick and crazy environment but also a platform to show your support and also ask questions.

Have a great day, keep watching, and I will see you all in the chat!

February 26 

Evening Update:

The watch continues. April was notably less tolerant of veterinary examination today; her behavior suggesting her not as willing to be as vulnerable to touch, but always a lady, she kept her manners. Continued increase in belly movement and back-end swell remains the same. Appetite remains and suggest we perhaps have a little bit more time; though she could surprise us at any moment.

Tomorrow will yield warmer temperatures and yard time for both Oliver and April.

April would like to thank Mr President for her nomination to Secretary of Labor, as she is rather experienced. However will have to decline the appointment due to her hooves being full at the moment.

In all seriousness – active labor is not yet present – but we will surely tell you when it is!

Morning Report:

#GiraffeWatch2017 continues. April is alert and attentive to her keepers, she shows no signs of discomfort. You will notice on our live feed, a lot of positioning in her hips, belly movements, and stutter stepping. This could be attributed to significant movement of the calf inside…baby is big! Calves are on average, 6′ tall and 150# upon birth.

An extreme temperature drop locally with wet/frozen conditions will keep the giraffes inside today. Rest assured, they receive extra enrichment and extra attention on days they do not venture out. A little extra bonding time! Tomorrow will bring warmer temps and some yard time again!

Please remember – they will not announce active labor until calf hooves are visible. Naturally, giraffes hide signs of labor – as to not alert every predator around, that they and a new calf will be vulnerable to attack. However, once the giraffe is in the final stages of labor – the process is quick. Visible hooves- to – calf on the ground, can be as short as 30 minutes!

February 25

Evening Update:

  • The vet was in around dinner time this evening and reports milk has filled the udder and at least one wax cap has been removed and produced milk droplets during examination. The back end shows an increase in swell and visible color change.
  • The giraffes enjoyed their yard today in mild temperatures before severe storms hit the area. Cold temperatures and some snow has started to settle in the hills.

Morning Update:

11:15 am 

  • And THAT is why we cannot have the male and female together during this time of pregnancy. He does not want to play house — he wants to ROUGH house. That is natural behavior as males take no part in rearing their young, nor have a need for a female once she is pregnant. Sad but True.
  • I hope this will end the concerns, messages, and emails of “why cant they two be together”. Trust us when I say, we do everything for a reason – and we know what we are doing.

7:00 am ish 

  • #GiraffeWatch2017 continues. Keepers have reported the continued shedding of the wax caps on April’s teats, increased belly movement, and a bit reluctant to go into the giraffe yard. Looks to be another warmer day so they will have the option of yard usage if they desire.
  • We will continue to keep you posted with any change in condition.

NOTE: KSAK Interviewed Jordon Patch and gave us more information about April and Oliver!! Be sure to visit their page to learn even more about this giraffe couple!


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        1. Hahaha… Thanks for catching that. We are doing a copy/paste of their updates with very minor revisions. That was a quote from their page. I’ll start checking more closely now!

  1. Thank you all these updates! They are great! I come to this site every day to see what progress has been made and look forward to these updates!

  2. You don’t have to watch with the obnoxious chat, I actually prefer not to also… go to aprilthegiraffe.com & click on watch the giraffe can. It will take you to her live cam… no chats or anything

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