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Giraffa camelopardalis

(Reticulated Giraffe)

Overview

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Average male height 17 feet (5.3 meters), Weight averages 1800 pounds (800 kg ). The hoofed animals have chestnut brown blotches on buff colored fur. The spots on the fur darken as the animal ages. Giraffes have very long, flexible tongues and lips to go along with their long slender necks. The male giraffe's neck continues to grow after sexual maturity has been reached, whereas the females' neck stops growing when maturity is reached at about 10 years of age. Giraffes have seven vertebrae in their necks, just as humans do. They have very large eyes on the sides of their head , atop a periscope like neck, that give them wonderful eyesight. Also on the top of their head, they carry 2-4 stubby horns that lie under the skin . Their 8 inch ears give them a good sense of hearing.

Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Dutch:

Giraffe

Common Names in English:

Giraffe, Masai Giraffe, Reticulated Giraffe

Description

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Physical Description

Species Giraffa camelopardalis

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males may be 16-18 feet tall and weigh up to 2,000 pounds . Females are usually lighter and about two feet shorter. The giraffe's front legs are only slightly longer than the back ones, the height of the fore part of the body being largely due to the heavy muscular development of the base of the neck.

The long neck has the usual seven vertebrae of most mammals, although each is greatly elongated. The giraffe's soup-plate-sized hooves are used as offensive weapons, usually in the defense of the calves . The powerful kick from the front feet can kill a lion.

The giraffe is one of the few ruminants born with horns. Both sexes have horns which are covered with skin . The horns of males are thicker and heavier and are used in fights between males.

The giraffe's canine teeth are splayed out in two or three lobes to comb the leaves off shoots . Their long black tongue, which can be extended 18 inches, is used to gather food into the mouth . To compensate for the sudden increase in blood pressure when the head is lowered, the giraffe has very elastic blood vessels and valves in the venous system of the neck.

Habitat

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,163 meters (0 to 7,096 feet).[1]

Ecology: Typically associated with Acacia, Commiphora and Combretum savannas , but they also occur marginally in miombo Brachystegia woodland and in Isoberlina woodland, in Cameroon (Ciofolo and Pendu in press ). Giraffes are selective browsers , with Acacia species forming the bulk of their diet throughout the range , but also species of the genera Balanites, Commiphora, Detarium, Boscia, Combretum, Ziziphus and Grewia (Ciofolo and Pendu in press).[2].

List of Habitats :

[more info]

Biology

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Diet

Giraffes are highly selective feeders , the bulk of their diet comprising the leaves and shoots of trees and shrubs , supplemented by climbers , vines and some herbs. Various species of acacia are favorite foods.

A large male may consume up to 75 pounds of food every 24 hours. Their stomach is like a cow's stomach, having four chambers that require the animal to chew its cud , fist sized balls of unchewed food that are regurgitated. These animals are thought to be very intelligent

Taxonomy

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Similar Species

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Members of the genus Giraffa

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 6 species and subspecies in this genus:

G. camelopardalis (Reticulated Giraffe) · G. camelopardalis giraffa (Giraffe) · G. camelopardalis peralta (Niger Giraffe) · G. camelopardalis reticulata (Reticulated Giraffe) · G. camelopardalis rothschildi (Rothschilds Giraffe) · G. camelopardalis tippelskirchi (Giraffe)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Notes

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Contributors

Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 26, 2007:

Identifiers

Footnotes

  1. Mean = 569.790 meters (1,869.390 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,572.140 based on 24 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  2. Fennessy, J. & Brown, D. 2010. Giraffa camelopardalis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-04-14