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Living Desert: Feed the Giraffes

Long-tongue'd loveliness is afoot at the Palm Desert animal park.

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    Visit California
    Long-tongue'd loveliness is afoot at the Palm Desert animal park.

    20 INCHES: The word "long" comes up a bunch when one is discussing giraffes, and with solid reason: Their legs are long, their necks are long, and even their ossicones — the cartilage "horns" atop their heads — can be quite impressive in length, all told. But there's another notably lengthy part of these spotted, elegant-of-stride herbivores, and it so happens to be inside their mouth. Well, for some of the time, anyway; it is the giraffe tongue of which we speak. It's about 20 inches in length, something you've surely seen if you've ever spied a giraffe trying to coax a tasty leaf off a high branch. Go ahead and use your hands to guess at 20 inches (it's impressive), and then picture yourself feeding yummy goodies to a giraffe at The Living Desert in Palm Desert. 

    THERE ARE TWO GIRAFFE FEEDINGS... on the daily schedule, one at 9 a.m and one at 11 (both are scheduled to run a half hour). You'll want to have a fiver handy, as that's the additional fee to feed a giraffe, after your get-in ticket at the animal park. Summer days in the desert do traditionally start earlier, so if you're hoping to beat peak heat, get to The Living Desert in time for its 8 o'clock opening. That'll hold through September, do note. Plus an early arrival will give time to admire the local beasties while they're at their more alert and frolicsome best. Like so many of us humans, animals of the desert get a little low-key come the afternoon. Get an early move on and say hi to the geckos, and eagles, and desert tortoise, and Mexican wolf...