Giraffe Information

Published Date: October 22nd, 2006
Category: Giraffes

By Michael Russell

The giraffe is a favorite animal of many people. Everyone loves to see them at the zoo. They are the largest of any mammal and have very attractive markings on them. The giraffe is a very interesting animal to learn about.

People have always honored giraffes. There are many African cave paintings that have these animals in them. Ancient Egyptian art also has giraffe designs. Their tail hairs are used for jewelry and their hide has been used to make things like sandals and ceremonial shields. The Romans called the giraffe a camelopardalis, which means “camel marked like a leopard”. This is where giraffes get their species name, camelopardalis.

Giraffes come from Africa. Because giraffes of this, they are used to droughts and can go for over a month without water! They can reach a height of eighteen feet and can weigh up to 2,800 pounds! Their body is a cream or buff color with irregular brown patches all over. The males are usually larger and darker than the females and also have thicker horns and a lump on the forehead. Both males and females have stiff manes on their necks. Their tongue is between 18 and 21 inches long.

There are nine subspecies of the giraffe: the reticulated or Somali Giraffe, the Angolan or Smoky Giraffe, the Kordofan Giraffe, the Masai or Kilimanjaro Giraffe, the Nubian Giraffe, the Rothschild’s or Baringo or Ugandan Giraffe, the South African Giraffe, the Thornicroft or Rhodesian Giraffe and the West African or Nigerian Giraffe.

The Giraffe’s unique body is a form of adaptation for them to survive. They have extremely long legs and a long neck in order to gather food better. They are herbivores and their height and leathery mouth allow them to reach and eat leaves. Their unique coloration is for their protection.

Giraffes stand up all the time; they even sleep standing up! When they give birth, the baby falls six feet to the ground. When they are born though, they are already six feet tall and can quickly stand up. Baby giraffes can even grow an inch a day!

Giraffes usually live in herds of five to fifteen individuals. There is only one male to a herd. Other males either live alone or in pairs. Giraffes can watch for danger very easily using their height and great senses of smell and eyesight. They actually only sleep for about a half hour a day, but only sleep for five minutes at a time. If they do sense danger, they are very fast animals and can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. The lion is their main predator. The giraffe’s heavy hooves are powerful enough to take a lion’s head off though!

The giraffe is an unmistakable, truly fascinating animal unlike anything else. There are so many interesting facts about the giraffe. Unfortunately, this animal is often killed by poachers and their habitat is destroyed a lot. Giraffes have even gone extinct in some countries, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali and Mozambique. Farmers also kill giraffes because they eat their crops. If people aren’t careful, there will be no more giraffes in Africa. We need to protect these animals and their habitats.

Michael Russell – Your Independent guide to Animals
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