Its dominant distinguishing characteristics are its tremendously long legs and neck, its distinctive coat patterns, and its horn-like ossicones. It’s classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its nearest extant relative, the okapi. Their coat patterns recognize the 9 subspecies.
The scattered range of giraffe extends from South Africa in the south to Chad in the north, and from Somalia in the east to Niger in the west. Giraffes often inhabit grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands.
Their main food source is acacia leaves they browse at heights that several other herbivores can’t reach. Giraffes are preyed on by many lions; leopards also threaten their calves, targeted by hyenas, and even the African wild dogs.
Giraffes are social animals and may gather in massive aggregations. Males create social hierarchies through “necking”, that are combat bouts where the neck is often used as a weapon. Dominant males achieve mating access to females that bear the only responsibility for raising the young.
The giraffe has intrigued different cultures, both modern and ancient, for its unique appearance, and has usually been featured in books, paintings, and cartoons. It’s classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as the Least Concern, but has been extirpated from several regions of its former range, and 3 subspecies are classified as really threatened. However, giraffes are still found in many game reserves and national parks.
Human beings have always interacted with the giraffes for millennia. The San societies of southern Africa own some medicine dances named after a few animals; the giraffe dance is often performed to heal head ailments.
How the giraffe gained its peculiar height has been the subject of different African folktales, including one from Eastern Africa that explains that the giraffe developed tall neck from eating very many magic herbs. Giraffes were portrayed in art all over the African continent, including that of the Egyptians, Kiffians and Meroe Nubians.
The Kiffians were accountable for a life-size rock engraving of two giraffes which has been referred to as the ‘world’s biggest rock art petroglyph’. The Egyptians provided the giraffe its hieroglyph, named ‘sr’ in Ancient Egyptian and ‘mmy’ in later times. They also kept various giraffes species as pets and even shipped them around the Mediterranean.
Generally, giraffes are one of the most amazing animals on Earth. Their regal stance, long necks, and beautiful features make them look almost surreal, even though they roam the African plains with incredibly real danger all around them.
Their exceptional biology means that they have some real problems to deal with which never impact other animals and some behaviors which at first seem downright bizarre.
Giraffes are commonly known as the landmarks of Africa. They are divided into nine subspecies depending on the area of Africa where they live and also by their body coloration. Giraffes are the tallest animals on our planet, and they are found in Sahel, savannas, and open woodland regions.
You know they are tall- the tallest mammals on Earth! Actually, there are more interesting facts about these leggy herbivores.
Interesting facts about Giraffes:
1. Giraffe often sleeps less than 2 hours in a day. Giraffes only require 5-30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period! They achieve that in quick naps which may last only for a minute or two at a time.
2. Spots of a giraffe are much similar to human fingerprints. No two individual giraffes have precisely the same pattern.
3. The giraffe’s calf can stand up and walk after almost one hour and within a week, it begins to sample some vegetation.
4. A giraffe heart weighs nearly 20 pounds and is the largest of any land mammal. It pumps approximately 75 liters of blood around its body each minute at a blood pressure double that of an average human.
5. Animals can easily eat thorny plants without being hurt because the inner surface of their mouth is very hard.
6. Female giraffes usually return to the area they were born to give birth. Once there, their calves get a rough welcome into the world; falling more than five feet to the ground.
7. Any particular group of giraffes is known as a tower.
8. Giraffe makes no sound. Not because they cannot, but they choose not to.
9. A giraffe is the only vertebrate species which cannot yawn.
10. Before mating, the female will first urinate in the mouth of the male. Male giraffes always determine if a female is fertile by simply tasting their urine.