Common Name: Giraffe Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis
LOWER RISK Giraffe Distribution: Africa
Habitat: Grassland Height: Approx. 4.5m Weight: Up to 1500kg Diet: Herbivorous Mostly leaves.
Giraffe are one of the most distinctive species on Earth. The pattern they have on their coats is actually unique to each individual, like fingerprints in humans. Giraffe inhabit the savannah and grassland areas across central and eastern Africa. They spend most of their time eating and will graze continuously on leaves and shoots. Some of the plants they eat have large thorns. To get around them they have a 45cm long tongue! They then coat their food in sticky saliva to make it safe to swallow. Giraffe’s form loosely knit herds to travel in. These herds are not set and the individuals will often drift between groups on a daily basis. Often daughters will stay in the area of their mothers whereas sons will migrate further away. In each area there is a dominant bull that does all the breeding. He keeps all the other bulls at bay by neck wrestling and giving head bumping displays. A female Giraffe attracts a male Giraffe by smell. After mating there is a gestation (pregnancy) period of 15 months. Once born, the calf is up and walking within one hour to avoid it’s predators. It will feed on its mother’s milk for 15 months when it moves on to vegetation. When it is small predators such as Hyena, Leopard and Wild Dogs are the main threats.