Have you ever seen a giraffe drinking? Well if you haven’t, it is a very awkward position the animal gets itself into. This is caused by the neck muscles that are connected to the dorsal spines of the thoratic vertebrae, which prevent the easy lowering of the head. After drinking for a short while giraffes will suddenly flick their heads back, as if startled by something. The “Wondernet” or rete mirabele is a network of blood vessels at the base of the brain, and serves as a mechanism to prevent too great a back flow of blood. When bending down this mechanism reduces the pressure of the blood at the base of the brain to about 120/80 compared with the normal 260/160.

Dean Robinson
Senior Ranger
Kapama Main Lodge