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Wildlife Tourism.net --› Africa Animals --› Giraffes



Giraffes - African Animals


There are nine recognized subspecies of giraffe: Nigerian, Kordofan, Nubian, reticulated, Rothschild ), Masai, Thornicroft), Angolan and South African or Cape)

Description and Characteristics:
The Giraffe is the tallest of all mammals, on average they are 6ft tall at birth. They are well known for their long necks, long legs, and spotted patterns; each giraffe has it's own unique pattern. Giraffes have small "horns" or knobs on top of their heads that grow to be about five inches long. These knobs are used to protect the head in fights.

Feeding/drinking Habits:
Their long necks help giraffes eat leaves from tall trees, typically acacia trees. The tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 45 cm.

If they need to, giraffes can go for several days without water. Instead of drinking, giraffes rely on remaining hydrated from the moisture content in the leaves they feed on.

Habitat:
Giraffes live in the savannahs of Africa, where they roam freely among the tall acacia trees, arid land, dense forests and open plains. Large populations of giraffe are found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia.

Size & Lifespan
Males weigh between 2,400 and 4,000 pounds and are up to 18 feet tall. Female giraffes are smaller and lighter than males, and weight between 1,600 and 2,600 pounds and grow to be about 16 feet tall. A giraffe calf can be up to 6 ft tall at birth

Giraffes live for about 25 years in the wild

Reproduction:
The gestation period for giraffes is between 14-15 months. Generally there 16-month period between calving since this is such a long gestation period. Breeding can occur at any time of the year, with the conception peak generally happening the rainy season

Predators and Threats:
There is not direct threat to adult Giraffes from predators as they are too large. However, their calves are vulnerable and cannot defend themselves from usually lion and the spotted hyena.

Giraffes are hunted for their meat, coat and tails. The tail is prized for good luck bracelets, fly whisks and string for sewing beads. The coat is used for shield coverings. Habitat destruction and fragmentation are threats to giraffe populations.




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