To continue our efforts to experience the Tampa area as much as possible while we’re here, we went on a Jeep tour of a local game farm, focused on conserving animals (we made sure of that after our dolphin cruise). This farm, at approximately 400 acres, is home to a number of exotic animals with most notably being the farm’s namesake, GIRAFFES!!!
The Giraffe Ranch owners are avid travelers, having made over 30 trips to Africa to find animals that they believe would do well in the central Floridian climate. There were a lot more animals living happily that we didn’t expect to see: camels, pygmy hippos, ring-tailed lemurs, zebras, warthogs and an impala.
Fun fact of the day: the oldest fossils of camels have been found in Wyoming! Scientists believe these desert-dwellers roamed north, crossed the Bering Strait, wandered through present-day Russia and parts of Asia, before finding the comforts of home in the arid regions of the Middle East.
Oh, and another fun fact (this one will be for tomorrow, as the fact above is for today!): when a zebra and donkey mate, the infertile offspring is one of two species – a donkra or a zedonk. The cute, little guy seen below is a donkra (where the stallion is a donkey and the mare is a zebra). Zedonks are created when the stallion is a zebra and the mare is a donkey. Do you feel smarter now? 🙂
The highlight of the excursion, though, was undoubtedly being able to hand feed the giraffes. We were given branches of live oak, and with their big, blue-black tongues, these long-necked creatures grabbed their food. It was amazing! Our guide also gave us leaves of cabbage, and Mindy had a giraffe eating out of the palms of her hands! 🙂
We also saw animals more commonly seen on the North American continent: cows, donkeys, turkeys, ostriches.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience! If you ever find yourself in the Tampa area, we highly recommend Giraffe Ranch.
Until our next adventure, take care!
Ligeia and Mindy 🙂 🙂