are nine recognized subspecies of giraffe: Nigerian, Kordofan, Nubian,
Reticulated, Rothschild, Masai, Thornicroft, Angolan and South African (or
Description and Characteristics: The Giraffe
is the tallest of all land mammals, fully grown its horn tops reach up to 6
metres above ground level and a calf is born 6ft tall on average. They are well
known for their long necks, which can can be 6-7 feet in length, but
surprisingly the Giraffe has the same number of vertabrae in their necks a a
human. Giraffes have spotted patterns; each one having it's own unique pattern.
They have small "horns" or knobs on top of their heads that grow to be about
five inches long. These knobs are used to protect the head in fights.
Feeding/drinking Habits: Their
long necks help giraffes eat leaves from tall trees, typically acacia trees.
The tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 45 cm.
In dry, arid areas
giraffes can go for several days without water rely on remaining hydrated from
the moisture content in the leaves they feed on. If there is water readily
available they will drinks daily, they need to splay their forelegs and bend
their knees to get their long neck to reach down to the walter
Lifespan Males weigh between 2,400 and 4,000 pounds and are up to
18 feet tall. Female giraffes are smaller and lighter than males, and weigh
between 1,600 and 2,600 pounds and grow to be about 16 feet tall. Giraffes
live to an age of around 25 years in the wild
Reproduction: The gestation period for giraffes
is between 14-15 months, afyer which a single calf is born (very occasionally
they have twins). Mothers give birth standing up. Generally there 16-month
period between calving due to such a long gestation period. Breeding can occur
at any time of the year, with the conception peak generally happening in the
Threats: Adult Giraffes do occassionally get attacked by lions
but it is not common, however, the calves are particularly vulnerable and their
main predators are lion, leopards, wild dogs and the spotted hyena. Sadly up tp
50% of calves do not survive their first year.
Giraffes are hunted for
their meat, coat and tails. The tail is prized for good luck bracelets, fly
whisks and string for sewing beads. The coat is used for shield coverings.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation are threats to giraffe populations.
Giraffe (Click on thumbnail images for large photo)