1. Class: Mammalia
2. Order: Artidactyla
3. Family: Giraffidae
4. Genus Species: Giraffa camelopardalis
5. Size: 1.8m/6ft (New borns) - 4.25 to 5.5m/14 to 18ft (Adults)
6. Weight: 1,100 to 1,915kg/4,420 to 4,215lb (adult males)
700 to 1,181kg/1,520 to 2,600lb (Adult females)
7. Description: White to cream background color with light brown
to almost black spots within a lattice pattern.
8. Life Span: 20 to 25 years
9. Reproduction: Males mature in 3.5 years but only breed at 8 years
old. Females mature at 4 to 5 years old. Giraffes bred throughout
the year, especially after a rainy season. After a gestation period
of 14 to 15 months, a baby giraffe is born. The mother tends to
her young who lies on the ground for 2 weeks. She will only leave
her young 100 yards away and further in the presence of a herd of
maternal giraffes. Although, the offspring are weaned as yearling
and nutritionally independent by 16 months, the maternal bond lasts
up to 16 months.
10. Gestation: 450 to 465 days
11. Habitat: Dry African savannah, scrub, open acacia woodlands
south of the Sahara, but has been eliminated from most of West African
and southern Kalahari range.
12. Diet: New growth foliage of acacia and mimosa brush 2 to 5m/6.6
- 16.5ft high and also 100 plant species with its choice determined
by seasonal and local availability. It uses its upper lip and long
tongue to strip the leaves, shoots, flowers and vines from trees.
It only drinks water every 2 to 3 days and can go without water
for weeks. A large amount of water are sourced from leave dew and
from water in the leaves. Giraffes have 4 stomachs just like cows.
13. Predators: Due to their size and physical conditions, they do
not usually have any predators. However, young giraffes are frequently
hunted by lions, hyenas, leopards, and African wild dogs. The mother
usually stands over her calf to protect against the lions by kicking
them using her powerful legs. However, statistics show that 50 -
75% of calves are killed during the first few months.
14. Endangered: Non-endangered
15. Special features/Specialization: At 18ft, the giraffe is simply
the biggest ruminant and the tallest animal in the world. Well now
for its spots, they are unique and distinguishable between giraffes,
much like fingerprints. Giraffes also posses a long pink and black
tongue which can reach 22 inches long. It also has horns which are
solid bones covered by skin where there are thin and tufted on top
for female giraffes while male ones are thick and bald on top measuring
up to 5 inches in length. Giraffes have keen eyesight and have good
hearing and sense of smell. Normally silent, giraffes are able to
give out noises such as grunts, snorts, growls, sneezes, snores,
moos, bleats and coughs. It can only move in 2 ways - walk or gallop
using its low legs and short trunk decree an ambling walk with the
entire weight supported alternately on left and right legs.
16. Social Organization: Giraffes generally live in a unstructured
herd which can consists of all males, all females and a mix. The
herds do not have a leader and due to their large size, they do
not need to be in a tight group. They are tall enough to see each
other and thus can live up to miles apart. Males spar daily contests
to determine mating rights, using horns and strong necks. Once ranking
has been determined, the usually live peacefully together.
17. Conservation Status: Although, giraffe tail, hairs and skin
are sought for commercial purposes, no conservation is yet necessary
to protect and preserve the giraffe species.
18. Behaviors: Females generally spend half a day browsing while
the nigh is spent lying down ruminating, especially hours after
dark and before dawn. Males on the other hand only spend 43% of
the day walking.
19. Population Areas: Sahara Desert, West African and southern Kalahari