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Big Baby: Giraffe Calf Born at Atlanta Zoo
The zoo's newest (and tallest) youngster.
Credit: Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta.

At 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and weighing in the neighborhood of 125 pounds (56 kilograms), Zoo Atlanta's newest baby is already bigger than many humans, but still has lots of growing to do.

The spindly-legged giraffe calf was born just days ago, in the early hours of Friday morning (July 22) and, like most healthy giraffe calves, could walk within just two hours. This week, keepers learned the calf is a girl. 

Less than a week old, and walking.
Less than a week old, and walking.
Credit: Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta.

"We’re delighted about the birth," said Rebecca Snyder, Zoo Atlanta's curator of mammals, in a statement. "Giraffes are among the most popular animals in our collection, and they're a stunning representation of the beauty and diversity of African wildlife."

In addition to bearing the distinction of "world's tallest animal" — males are typically around 18 feet (5 m) tall, females around 16 feet (4.8 m) — giraffes also have one of the animal kingdom's longest gestation periods. Female giraffes are pregnant for roughly 15 months before giving birth.

The newborn giraffe is only the second surviving giraffe calf born in the zoo's 122-year history. The first was born almost exactly a year earlier, on July 13, 2010, and is now 8 feet (2.4 m) tall and weighs around 600 pounds (272 kg).

For now, the zoo's newest giraffe is bonding with its mother, and will stay out of sight until it's ready to join the rest of the herd, according to a zoo statement.

"We're excited about watching this little one grow, not just in feet, but in milestones," Snyder said.

This article was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to LiveScience.