Giraffe, Most Tallest Land-living Animal
The giraffe is a large African hoofed mammal belonging to the genus Giraffa. It is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant on Earth.
Giraffes can inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. They prefer areas enriched with acacia growth (a genus of shrubs and trees). Most giraffes live either in East Africa or in Angola and Zambia in southwestern Africa. Until the middle of the 20th-century giraffes were also commonly found in West Africa, south of the Sahara. But populations there have fallen sharply and become increasingly fragmented.
Giraffe is the tallest living animal which is instantly recognizable by its exceptionally long neck. This animal has a height of 4-6 meters, with a body weight of 550-930 kg. Males are larger than females. Giraffes have an unusually long lifespan compared to other ruminants, and can live up to 38 years.
The mating season about this animal can occur at any time of the year. They start breeding from the age of 4-7 years. Pregnant period is usually 13-15 months. Young giraffes may suckle for up to a year, however, they start to sample plants just a few weeks after birth. Giraffe calves are ready to leave the protection of their mother after 15 – 18 months of development.
Giraffe are herbivores and are known to eat up to 60 different plant species. They most often feed on acacia trees but also forage for wild apricots, flowers, fruits and buds along with seeds and grass fresh after rain. When stressed, giraffes may chew the bark from branches.
This animal eats about 34 kg of leaves each day. They mostly eat in the first and last hours of the day. They get 70% of their moisture from their food so they need to drink very little. Additionally, they can survive up to three weeks without drinking water!
Did You Know?
- The word ‘giraffe’ comes from an Arabic word, ‘zirafah’, which means ‘the tallest of all’.
- Giraffes can rest standing up, flicking their ears and keeping one eye open alternately to keep alert. They need to be ready to run away when predators approach.
- This animal has one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal, which is between 10 minutes and two hours in a 24 hour period, averaging 1.9 hours per day.
- One theory as to why a giraffes tongue is black or blue is to prevent it from being sunburned.
- Giraffes are not territorial.
Get closer with giraffes at Mara River Safari Lodge, feel the sensation of Feeding and having Breakfast with this friendly biggest animal. Book now!