Giraffa camelopardalis

Interesting facts about the giraffe

  • The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an even-toed African mammal belonging to the order Artiodactyla.
  •  Owing to the great length of the neck and of the limbs, the giraffe is by far the tallest of mammals.
  • The giraffe scientific name, refers to its camel-like face and irregular patches of color on a light background, which bear a vague resemblance to a leopard's spots.
  •  In the ordinary giraffe there are two "horns," or bony prominences only a few inches in length, and covered with hairy skin; and there is, in addition, a dome-shaped protuberance between the eyes, sometimes called the third horn. 
  • Some specimens occasionally have an extra pair of protuberances behind the horns and are referred to as "five-horned" giraffes. 
  • The giraffe has an average weight of 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females.
  • The paired "horns" differ from the horn cores of sheep and oxen in being at first quite separate from the bones of the skull; they are never shed, but retain throughout life their hairy covering. 
  • Among other important structural peculiarities of the giraffe, there are only two toes on both fore and hind feet, and the canines as well as the incisors are absent in the upper jaw. 
  • The length of neck and limbs enables the animals to browse with ease on the young shoots of high trees. 
  • The bulls may reach a height of 5–6 m (16–20 ft) while the females are considerably smaller. 
  • The giraffe is found in the open bush country of Africa south of the Sahara desert. It frequents regions where mimosa and similar trees grow sparingly, and there is space for the rapid flight upon which it depends for safety. 
  • It drinks but seldom, and in drinking is obliged to separate the front legs sideways in order to reach the water. 
  • The hoofs are large, and can be used as weapons with great force, the bulls employing them in their combats with one another after the fashion of stallions. 
  • Dominant males each mate with multiple females.
  • The giraffe lives in herds, with an old male as leader. Its nearest living ally is the okapi.