Giraffe is an herbivorous mammal. It is the tallest among all the land animals. Its scientific name ‘Giraffa camelopardalis’ comes from the fact that many people believed it to be a combination of camel and leopard (the tall height like camel and patches on the fur like a leopard). Giraffes are native to Africa, south of
Sahara desert and mostly live in open
areas, wood lands, grasslands where they can find green trees and in some cases
near desert regions. They are listed as Least Concern in the IUCN red list.
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|RG162- Giraffe drinking water at Hyderabad zoo|
A Giraffe can grow 15-20 ft tall and its weight can range from 800-1800 kg. The males are larger than the females. It has large eyes, one on each side of face making it see all around. It has good sense of smell and hearing. There are short Horns on its head, which are known as Ossicones. The legs of a giraffe can be over 6 ft tall and the neck also can measure 5-6 ft. though all four legs are equal, the hind legs appear shorter than the fore legs. The entire body has dark patches of varying shades of orange to brownish black. These patches are separated by white or creamy fur. The tongue of a giraffe is very long and helps in eating leaves on higher tree branches.
And now a few interesting facts about this tall animal:
- The spots on a Giraffe act like finger prints, no two Giraffes can have similar pattern and thus can be identified.
- The color of spots can help in finding the age of a Giraffe. The darker the spots, the older is Giraffe.
- A female Giraffe gives birth while standing, as a result the newly born calf has to fall from a decent height of around 5-6 ft.
- The tongue, lips and inner parts of mouth have bristle like hair called papillae, which protect it from thorns.
- The nostrils can be closed during sandstorms.
- A newly born Giraffe calf can learn to stand within 30 minutes of its birth and can start running after 10 hours.
- Giraffes are the largest ruminants.
- Its tall height and large eyes help a Giraffe to keep a sharp lookout for predators.
- A Giraffe can survive without water for long period, they get most of the water from green juicy plants and leaves and store it in their body tissues.
- It can run up to a speed of 50-60 km/h for over short distances.
- Males indulge in a fight using their necks to prove their dominance during the mating season. This is called Necking.