The giraffe (Giraffa) is a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, the tallest living terrestrial animals, and the largest ruminants. Taxonomic classifications of one to eight extant giraffe species have been described, based upon research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, as well as morphological measurements of Giraffa, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature currently recognizes only one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, the type species, with nine subspecies. Seven other species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils.
- The giraffe is the tallest mammal in the world, with even new-born babies being taller than most humans.
- The giraffe is a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminants. Wikipedia
Height: Northern giraffe: 4.6 – 6.1 m
Scientific name: Giraffa
Speed: 60 km/h (Maximum, Sprint)
Mass: Northern giraffe: 800 kg Encyclopedia of Life
Habitats: Savanna, Grassland, Woodland
Did you know: A giraffe’s lungs can hold 12 gallons of air
- The giraffe has special valves to protect its brain and keep it from blacking out when it lowers its head to drink; they both constrict and release blood flow.
- Their height and excellent vision enable them to communicate with each other over long distances and to anticipate predators.
- Their strong legs are a great defense against their primary predator, the lion. They have been known to shatter the skull of a lion with just one kick!
- The giraffe has thick, sticky saliva that protects it from the thorny branches of the acacia tree.
- The giraffe’s uniquely patterned spots provide camouflage in the grassland environment.
- A baby giraffe is called a calf.
- A newborn calf weighs approximately 100 kg.
A newly born giraffe measures around 6 feet in height.
- A female giraffe is called a cow.
- A male giraffe is called a bull.
- No two giraffes have the same spot pattern.
- The step taken by the giraffe is about 15 feet in length.
- The kick of giraffe is so strong that it can also kill a lion.
- Giraffes have long necks that can be over six feet in length.
- The oldest recorded wild giraffe in the world is known as ‘Chopper’.
- There is a hotel in Kenya, where you can hang out with giraffes all day.
- Over short distances, giraffes can run at speeds up to 35 mph.
- Female giraffes often return to where they were born to give birth. Once there, their calves receive a rough welcome into the world, falling over five feet to the ground.
- Giraffes have hair-covered horns called ossicones—but only males use them (for fighting each other).
- Giraffes require over 75 pounds of food a day—and with a diet of leaves, this means they spend most of their time eating.
- Because of their unusual shape, giraffes have a highly-specialized cardiovascular system that starts with an enormous heart. It’s two feet long and weighs up to 25 pounds.
- Male giraffes engage in a ritualized display of dominance called “necking” that involves head-butting each other’s bodies.
- Unlike horses and most other quadrupeds, giraffes walk by moving both legs on the same side of their body together. So, the left front and the left hind legs step and then the right front and the right hind legs step.
- June 21, 2014, was first-ever World Giraffe Day.
- During copulation, male Giraffes stand almost straight up on their hind legs, resting their front legs along the female’s flanks, an awkward posture that would be literally unsustainable for more than a few minutes. Interestingly, Giraffe sex can provide clues about how dinosaurs like Apatosaurus and Diplodocus had sex–doubtless equally quickly, and with roughly the same posture.
- Giraffes are not mute; they perform several vocalizations that resemble those of a cow.
Giraffes are the largest ruminants in the world. They have four compartments in their stomach capable of digesting all the leaves they consume.
- Both genders have protuberances of ossified cartilage covered with skin on the top of their head called ossicones fused to the skull.
- Giraffes have seven vertebrae in their necks which give them the flexibility of a wide range of movement with it.
- It may surprise you to learn that humans often hunt giraffes for their tails, their hides, and to consume their meat.
- Giraffes can go for some days without drinking water which is a huge advantage over other animals. There is usually enough water in the leaves of the food they consume to take care of that need for them, but during the dry season, they can drink 10 gallons of water a day.
- Giraffes have never been considered to be at any big threat of disappearing, but the truth is — they have been steadily decreasing in number over the years.
- The dwindling populations of giraffe species — some as low as 400 — happened so quietly that barely anyone got an idea of the tallest land animals reaching so close to disappearing off the face of Earth. They are shockingly more endangered than any gorilla.
- As per a report by The Guardian by Damian Carrington, the number of giraffes has dropped from 157,000 in 1985 to 97,500 in just the last 31 years. That’s a decline of almost 40 percent.
- The top cause for concern is that the world’s tallest land animals are losing their habitat primarily because of land being taken over for agriculture, mining or construction. Stopping this is a huge task as it essentially means hampering the economy and livelihood of people and stopping land development.
- Other than poaching or villagers eating its meat for food scarcity, they are also shockingly killed just for their tails as they are seen as a status symbol in some cultures and can be used as a dowry, as per National Geographic reports by Jani Actman.