Largest of terrestrial animals with astonishing anatomic features, the Giraffe deserves attention!
Class : Mammals
Order: Cétartiodactyles – Family : Giraffe – Genre Giraffa
Key features of the giraffe
Total height: 3.5 to 5 m (record 5.9 m) (Varies depending on the species)
Weight: from 1100 Kg to over 1500Kg for males and 700 Kg to 1200Kg females.
Neck length: Approx 2 meters
Tail length: 75 to 150 cm
Gestation: 14 to 15 months, approx 400 to 470 days
Number of young per litter: 1
Longevity: 15 to 20 years in the wild, 25 to 30 years in captivity
Maximum speed: from 15 to 55 km / hour
Subspecies and Geographical Distribution
The species are split into 9 subspecies for Girafa camelopardalis (a 2016 genetic study suggests only 6 species):
|Sub-species||Common name||Geographical distribution|
|Peralta||West African Giraffe||Nigeria|
|Antiquorum||Kordofan Giraffe||Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Central Africa, Sudan|
|Camelopardalis||Nubie Giraffe||South Sudan, Ethiopia|
|Reticulata||Réticulé Giraffe||Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya.|
|Rothshildi||Rothshild Giraffe||Kenya, Uganda.|
|Tippelskirchi||Masaï Giraffe||Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda|
|Angolensis||Angolan Giraffe||Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe|
|Giraffa||Cape Giraffe||South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique.|
History and Origins
« Giraffe » originated in Arabic « Zarâfah ». « Camelopardalus » comes from Latin «Camelus» for the giraffes elongated neck (like a camel) and «Pardalis» for spots (like a leopard).
It all began 20 million years ago (in the Upper Miocene). This family of animals called giraffe probably had a common ancestor with the bovine family since they are both ruminants. Coming from the Indian subcontinent, they arrived in Africa around 6 to 7 million years ago. Giraffes appear to have been successful until fairly recent times.
Today there are only 2 species left the African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and the Okapi (Okapia Johnstoni).
Giraffe are the largest of the land animals.Their spots are their identity card. At birth, the spots are smaller. The shape will remain the same however the spots will grow as well as the spaces between them. The color of the spots darken with age.Both sexes have horns, more developed and thicker in the male. The giraffe is the only mammal that is born with these horns which are cartilage, and they are already present in the womb.
The horns are covered with skin and the top is covered in black hairs. In males, these hairs become less visible with age, the top becoming bald and shiny due to fighting.
The giraffe walks gracefully (it advances the front and rear legs on the same side at the same time) like a camel or a bear. The neck, thanks to the muscle pulling it forward, serves as a pendulum to balance the body when moving. Its speed goes from 15 to 55Km/h.
The blood circulation and breathing are proportionate with its size and are wonders of nature.