Good morning friends,
we hope you had a nice weekend.
After an article about the lion, this week starts with some interesting information about the giraffe.
This mammal is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant.
Males can get up to 6 meters high and females up to 4 meters.
The identifying feature of the giraffe is its very long neck. But even the legs are long.
With those legs, the giraffe can run with a speed of up to 60 km per hour.
The main color of this animal is cream with dark patches. The latter can be orange, brown or nearly black, depending on the subspecies (up to nine subspecies are recognized). The reason for these patches is camouflage.
Both sexes have horn-like ossicones on their heads which are covered with skin.
The giraffe’s tongue is 50 cm long and can be used for grabbing things, for example leaves on the trees.
The favorite food is acacia. It happens rarely that this animals eats something from the ground, because it has to spread its legs far to be able to reach the ground with its long neck.
The same problem is for drinking, but anyway the giraffe can stay long without water, because the daily fluid requirements are mostly covered by the food.
Most male giraffes live alone, but sometimes the females band together. Even mixed-sex groups can occur. Usually these groups change after a while.
A female giraffe is pregnant for 14 or 15 months before she gets her baby. She bears it while she is standing, so that the baby falls down from 2 meters. But of course it doesn’t hurt. Within the first hour it learns how to stand. Its neck is long enough to reach its mothers udder.
Mother and child stay together for one and a half years. After four years the child gets pubescent and after six years it is fully grown.
In nature giraffes can get 25 years old, but a lot of young giraffes die because of attacks of wild animals like lions, hyena and leopards.
Normally they defend themselves with their front hooves which can beat heavily. Also the necks can be used for combat, a behavior known as “necking” to establish dominance, especially between male giraffes.
In Tanzania you find giraffes in most National Parks and your safari guide will give you much more interesting information about this fascinating animal.