Giraffes

Classification Order

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Giraffidae

Genus: Giraffa

Scientific Name: Giraffa Camelopardalis

Common Name: Giraffe

The only close relative is the okapi

Habitats

Giraffes are native to the sub-saharan woodlands of Africa, and previously North Africa, but the nine sub-spieces can now be found in small regions in central Africa, where they are isolated. Giraffes are most abundant in National Parks. They thrive in open woodlands and savannah's where they can use their height to see oncoming threats.

Diet

Giraffes are herbivores, and their necks are elongated so that there's less competition for food. They eat a wide variety of plants, most commonly the acacia tree. They also enjoy many fruits and flowers. Giraffes get the majority of their water supply from the food that they eat so they don't have to go to water sources that are difficult to bend down to. They use their long, black tongues to grab onto leaves and their flat teeth to remove the leaves from their branches.

Social Interaction and Behavior

Due to the small herds of Giraffes around Africa, many males are often solidary in search of females, which usually stick with the young. To win the right to mate with the females, the males assert their dominance by butting heads and interlocking their necks. After breeding the males go back to their solidarity, while the mother (after 15 months of gestation) separates herself and her calf from their herd for around 15 days. Most females stay together but change between herds. Giraffes usually spend most of their time eating because of their large body shape, and they also tend to rest a lot.

Movement

Giraffes are very fast and they can run at up to 30 mph, but they can only run for a short amount of time because their front legs are longer than their back legs. This makes it hard for them to outrun their predators.

Facts

  • While Giraffes are not very high on the endangered species, some of the different sub-species are more critically endangered
  • They weigh between 1000 and 4000 lbs and reach between 13 and 20 feet
  • Their predators are big cats
  • Their hearts are around weigh 25 lbs and span 2 feet
  • Just like fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same spots