Roz Warren


So What Are They Humming?

A random giraffe humming “Old Town Road” (Photo by Kellie Patton on Unsplash)

I once read in Time Magazine that giraffes, who were always thought to be silent animals, actually hum to each other at night. Time didn’t tell us what giraffes hum to each other at night.

Show tunes? Pop songs? Jazz standards?

Are giraffes entertaining each other with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Happy?” Or are they humming the classics, like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Fly Me To The Moon?”

Do they all hum at once or do they take turns? And are they pleasing their fellow giraffes or annoying the hell out of them?

After years of trying to sleep beside a partner who snores, all I know is that if I were a giraffe trying to get some shut-eye and my partner began humming, I wouldn’t be enchanted. I’d want to whack him on the neck with my hoof and yell “Shut Up!”

Although, according to Time, this doesn’t happen. Or rather, if it does, Time hasn’t reported it.

And why do they only hum at night? If there’s something we can extract from them that prevents humming from taking place during daylight hours, I love to bottle it and slip it into the drinks of a couple of incredibly irritating nonstop tuneless hummers I know.

My favorite part of this story is the thought that somebody actually got research money to explore this. Some eager grad student put together a grant proposal asking for funding for “What Do Giraffes Do At Night?” and somebody wrote them a fat check.

I certainly hope it was government money. I’d much rather see my tax dollars going to explore the nocturnal activities of even-toed ungulate mammals than building bombs.

All I know for sure is that now that this research has born fruit, there will be more. What to study next? How about:

What do giraffes do at dawn? Tap dance?

Now that we know that giraffes can hum, can we teach one to play an oboe?

What about tigers? Do tigers hum too? Or do they form themselves into impromptu Barber Shop Quartets in the jungle every night and sing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart?”

When giraffes are done humming, what do they do for an encore? Ride skateboards backwards while playing “Disco Inferno” on the trumpet?

I’d be happy to check that last one out. Fund me.

(If you enjoyed this humor piece by Roz Warren, you might like this one too.)



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