Meet The Tallest Animal In The World: The Giraffe

Meet The Tallest Animal In The World: The Giraffe

Giraffes

Photo by Jon Mountjoy

Giraffes are most known because of their long necks and unique patchwork patterns and are therefore among the most recognizable animals in the animal kingdom. Their long tongue, large eyes, tufted tail and sizable ears further contribute to their extraordinary appearance.

Where Do Giraffes Live?

Giraffes live in savannas throughout African continent. Like semi-arid these animals open woodlands that have scattered trees and bushes making the savannas perfect for them.

 

Physical Appearance

An average male giraffe’s height is 17.4 feet (5.3 meters), and an average female’s height is 14.1 feet (4.4 meters). A giraffe’s neck weighs about 600pounds (270 kilograms) and is about 6 feet (1.9 meters) long, and its legs are as long as its neck.  A giraffe can live up to 27 years. Most giraffes have a tan, white or yellow coat spotted with brown, square shapes.

 

Behavior

Giraffes are so social that they do not have territories. A herd of giraffes is called a tower. Towers typically have 13 to 16 members and are led by an older male. The other animals in the tower are other males, females and their babies.

 

What Do They Eat?

The giraffes eat foods that are pretty tall. They are browsers, meaning that they eat the leaves of bushes and trees. In order to eat it takes a branch in its mouth and by pulling its head away tears off the leaves. Similar to a cow they do not have upper front teeth, but instead have a dental pad (a lump of tough tissue that lowers food as they eat). Typically a giraffe will eat about 66 lbs (30 kg) of food a daily.

 

Reproduction

These animals are polygynous. Males carefully guard an estrous female from other males. Female giraffes have only 1 young and carry the calf between 15 to 16 months before it’s born. The baby giraffe spends the first 2 weeks of its life lying on the ground which makes it very vulnerable to predators. The mother giraffe guards her baby and will receive help from the other females in the herd. No more than half of all babies that are born will reach adulthood.

Predators

Lions present the only predators that can be a threat to an adult giraffe. The lion will attempt to knock the giraffe off its feet, making it easy prey. But, just one strong kick from a giraffe can break lions back or shatter its skull. People also hunt giraffes for their skin, meat and tail.

 

 Status

Like all other animals of Africa giraffes are also threatened as their habitat continues to get smaller.  While northern populations have been decreasing in abundance, the southern populations are increasing their numbers.

Fun Facts

  • Just like a camel, a giraffe can stock up on water and can be for a long time without drinking.
  • Giraffe has such a long tongue that it can lick itself in almost any part of its face.
  • One of the most strange giraffe facts is that they don’t sleep like other mammals, but less than 2 hours a day.

GiraffePhoto by robynejay

  • In nature giraffes almost never lie down because they are vulnerable when lying on the ground. They usually sleep while standing.

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