Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate
Reticulated giraffes are the world’s tallest mammal, with males standing 18 feet tall! Both male and female giraffes have a spotted coat. The pattern of the coat varies and helps the giraffe camouflage in different habitats. Giraffes are social animals, living in loose, open, unstable herds varying from 10 to 20 individuals.
Habitat: Giraffes live in the dry savannas and open woodlands of northeast Africa in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Because they only occasionally drink, giraffes can be found away from a water source.
Diet: Giraffes spend most of their time eating. They eat mainly leaves from Acacia trees with some flowers, seed pods, and fruit. An adult male can eat up to 146 pounds (66 kg) of food in one day!
Family Life: Female giraffes have a gestational period of 15 months and give birth standing up! Newborn calves get to their feet 15 minutes after birth. At birth, giraffe calves are 6.5 feet tall from the ground to their shoulders and weigh 110 pounds.
The reticulated giraffe’s endangered status is classifed as threatened.
- The main threats to the reticulated giraffe are lions, leopards, and hyenas. Giraffes are able to defend themselves against predators – they can give deadly blows by kicking with their hooves. The giraffe’s skin also helps camouflage them while foraging in scrub forests.
- Near water, crocodiles pose a threat by attacking young, sick, or elderly giraffes.
- Giraffes are hunted for their meat, coat, and tails in the wild by humans. Humans also pose a major threat through habitat destruction and fragmentation.
- That’s quite a long neck you have! Giraffes have the same number of bones in their necks as we do, but their neck is MUCH bigger than ours at about 10 inches long!
- Giraffes can run up to 35 miles/hour over short distances. They have several adaptations for such a large body. Their hearts are not very large, so their hearts have to be very strong and thick to pump all that blood through such a large body. Their heart beats up to 170 times each minute and generates extremely high blood pressure (280/180 mm Hg) – double that of humans!
- No head rush here! There is a complex pressure-regulation system in their necks that stops blood from rushing to their brains when they lower their heads. They also have very tight, thick skin around their lower legs which helps them keep high blood pressure in their legs, similar to a pilot’s G-suit.
CLASS: Mammalia (mammals)
ORDER: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)
FAMILY: Giraffidae (giraffes and okapis)
GENUS: Giraffa (giraffes)
SPECIES: Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate (reticulated giraffe)
LIFE SPAN: 10 – 15 years (wild) / 20 – 27 years (zoo)
SIZE: Male: 18 feet (5.5 m) / female: 15 feet (4.6 m)
WEIGHT: Male: 4,254 pounds (1,930 kg) / female: 26,01 pounds (1,180 kg)