Virginia Zookeeper Surprised To Welcome Rare Twin Giraffes

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In 2013, a 22-year-old pregnant giraffe named Gabriella stunned the entire staff at the Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia. The birth was a complete success, and everything went as planned — except for the fact this new mom was in for a huge surprise.

Gabriella gave birth to rare twin giraffes, a male and a female. “I saw one baby, then I turned the other way and saw another one, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I couldn’t believe it,” said Zoo Owner and Director Karl Mogensen.

Karl says they weren’t expecting her to give birth to one baby, let alone two, since 22 is pretty old for a giraffe. Twins are extremely rare for giraffes — 1 in 218,000 — and only a few zoos in the world have them. Even Gabriella herself had no idea twins were coming; she didn’t have enough milk to feed both babies! The staff quickly switched the twins to bottle feeding, and grew up tall and healthy. The female baby weighed about 80 pounds and the male 100 pounds. As newborns, they both stood about six feet tall!

Giraffes give birth standing up. Calves stand up and run within an hour of birth.

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