Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

Classification

Domain Eukarya: The domain Eukarya's members are all eukaryotes, which means they have a nucleus and are either single or multicellular. This domain also consist of all four kingdoms, Kingdom Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.

Kingdom Animalia: All animals are apart of this kingdom and all of these members are multicellular eukaryotes. All of the members are capable of movement sometime in their life, and most reproduce sexually. Animalia members get there nourishment from other organisms and most digest their food.

Phylum Chordata: All members of the phylum Chordata, or chordates have bilateral symmetry, a complete digestive system, a ventral heart, and other characteristics.

Subphylum Vertebrata: All members of the subphylum Vertebrata or vertebrates, are fishes, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. All vertebrates have a vertebral column, a ventral heart with 2-4 chambers, and generally a body consisting of a head, a postanal tail and other physical parts.

Class Mammalia: All members of the class mammalia or mammals have hair on their body at some point in their life, sweat glands known as mammary glands, 3 middle ear bones, and females have the ability to produce milk for their young children. Mammals are found in all oceans, continents, and many islands.

order Artiodactyla: All members of the order Artiodactyla hard hooves, small feet for their size, long lightweight limbs, and most have 2 to 4 toes on each foot, these animals are known as even-toed ungulates. The members of this class are native to all continents except for Australia and Antarctica.

Family Giraffidae: The Okapi and the Giraffe, which are the only species in the family Giraffidae, have these characteristics that make them part of this family. They have long and narrow hooved feet, long prehensile tongues, four-chambered complex stomachs, horns unique to them, as well as many other things.

Genus Giraffa: Giraffes.

Species: Giraffa camelopardalis.

General Description

Height: Giraffes are worlds tallest mammal, with male giraffes standing at a total of 5.7 meters and female giraffes standing in between 4.0 and 4.7.

Weight: Male Giraffes or bulls weigh up to 1,930 kg, female giraffes or cows weigh up to 1,180 kg, and newborns weigh 50 to 55 kg.

Color: Male and female giraffes have a spotted coat, the coats spotts can be small, medium, or large, and the coats color can be altered over a giraffes life time. The giraffes coat is also very good for helping to camofluage the animal.

Natural Range: To find the giraffe in its natural habitat you would have to travel to Africa. The giraffe lives in the savannas of Sub-Saharan Africa and it is rarely seen in the west, south, and central parts of Africa.

Diet: Giraffes are herbivores, meaning they do not eat meat and their diet uasally consit of leaves, fruits, seed pods, and flowers, and sometimes if the floor of the savanna that they live in is salty and full of minerals they will eat soil.

Habitat: Giraffes live in the wooded savannas of Africa, usually savannas of with many acacia trees. Their habitats are also very hot.

Predators: The Giraffe's predators are, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles, but usually only if the griaffe is at a drinking hole, and their main predator the lion. Predators of giraffes uasally attack the sick, elderly, and young giraffes who can't defend themselves.

Extra Facts:

  • Giraffes live up to 26 years of age.
  • First able to breed at 4 1/2 for bulls (male) and 3 1/2 for cows (female).
  • Male giraffes are called bulls and females are called cows.

Physical Adaptations

Giraffes have extremely long necks, the longest out of any mammal. This helps them survive by allowing them to get foliage (leaves) to eat that no other animal could reach. Giraffes have very long tails, usually 76 to 101 cm long with a black tuft at the end. The tail helps them survive because they can swat insects away that could carry harmful, maybe even deadly diseases. Giraffes have spotted coats of fur that can act as a camouflage in their savanna habitat. Their camouflage helps them survive by making them hard to find by predators, giving them a lower chance of attack. Giraffes have very heavy hooves. They can use their hooves to a defend themselves from the animals that prey on them, sometimes their blows to the animal can be very deadly. Giraffes have long tongues which can be extended to around 18 inches. Their tong helps them survive by grasping on to leaves to eat. If giraffes didn't have such long tongues they wouldn't be able to get many leaves, possibly causing starvation.

Behavioral Adaptations

Giraffes travel in herds, allowing them to help each other out with danger, food, or other problems that may occur. After around a month mother giraffes bring their calves into creche groups (almost like a day care). The creche groups allow mothers to go away from their calves to get food or water for themselves, but the mothers do come back before night to feed and protect their calf. Creche groups help giraffes survive by giving mothers a chance to get away from the calf and to collect food so they don't starve, it also helps calves survive by helping them learn to be without their mothers. In a 24 hour period giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep and usually sleep standing up. This helps giraffes survive because they have more to time to collect food and do other things they need to survive, as well as they have less time where they are vulnerable to their predators. Giraffes are fast animals that can run for pretty considerable distances and can run at 32 to 60 miles per hour. This helps them survive because they could run away from dangers, such as predators or natural dangers. Even though they do not make sounds often, giraffes are capable of making sounds. If a giraffe feels alarmed, they will make a snorting sound to aware other giraffes in their herd. One reason we often don't hear giraffes make sounds is because they are below the level of what humans can hear. This helps giraffes survive, because they can warn other giraffes of danger and get help as well as many other benefits that communication has.

References

Burton, M., & Burton, R. (2002). Giraffe. In International wildlife encyclopedia v.1 (AAR-BAR) (3rd ed., Vol. 7, pp. 975-977). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Giraffa camelopardalis. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from Encyclopedia of Life website: http://eol.org/pages/308378/details#reproduction

Giraffe. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from The Animal Files website: http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/hoofed_mammals/giraffe.html

Giraffe. (2015). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from San Diego Zoo website: http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/giraffe

Giraffe, giraffa camelopardalis. (2003, November). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from San Diego Zoo website: http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/giraffe/giraffe_summary.htm

Maisano, S. 2006. "Giraffa camelopardalis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Giraffa_camelopardalis/