The giraffe is the tallest living creature and can reach vegetation that other animals cannot. Giraffes eat foliage like leaves and evergreens, grass and shrubs, fruit and lots of water. One of their favorites is the Acacia tree. A giraffe will eat 15 to 65 pounds of food. At night they will lie down to rest. There are 9 subspecies of giraffe. They live in Africa in arid and dry areas where trees are growing. They live in loose herds with no specific leaders. They can spot predators easily and signal to run if there is danger coming. The adult males weigh 2420 to 4250 pounds and the females weigh 1540 to 2600 pounds. Males are from 9-11 feet at the shoulder and 18-19 at the top of their horns. Females are usually around 2 feet shorter than males.
When giraffes walk they move both right legs forward and then both left. When running they use the back legs first and they move on the outside of the front legs. Baby giraffes are born while the mother is standing. The fall to the ground is long. In about 20 minutes the calf will stand and they are around 6 feet tall. Calves can grow as much as an inch a day and double their height in a year. 50-75% of calves are killed by lions and spotted hyena during the first few months of life. Giraffes were actually once thought to be a cross between a camel and leopard! That is how they got their scientific name of Giraffa Camelopardalis. In order to establish dominance males swing their heads at one another in tests of strength. It is called, “necking.”
As giraffes age their fur darkens. Giraffes only have 7 vertebrae in their neck that can be 5 feet long. The North Kenyan Giraffe has a latticework of thin lines that separate the dark patches. A giraffes tongue can be as long as 18 inches! Giraffes can’t cough. A giraffe has the same number of bones in their necks as a man which is seven. They are just a lot bigger! Giraffe’s horns are different from other animals because they are covered in skin and hair. Only three animals hunt giraffes. They are the lion, crocodile and man. A giraffe’s front hoof is as big as a dinner plate. You won’t hear a giraffe any time soon, they have no vocal cords!