The giraffe is an African mammal, the very tallest of all those which live on the land.
The male may be 16 to 18 feet tall, and weigh nearly 3000 pounds.
Imagine having him step on your toes!
Females are a little shorter, but not much, and weigh somewhat less than the males do.
The giraffe is related to deer, but is not the same family; its closer relative would be the okapi.
Believe it or not there are nine kinds of giraffes. Some of those are Reticulated, Angolan, Kordofan, Nubian, and West African.
Both males and female giraffes have horns, but the females are a little smaller.
Giraffes have brown spots which cover their whole body with the exception of their bellies. Every giraffe has a separate pattern of spots, like human fingerprints.
They have incredibly long tongues that are armoured, in a way, and don’t feel the thorns from the acacia trees that they eat from
Their tongues are also black, to protect them from sunburn
Even though they have such long necks they still have just the typical number of neck bones, called vertebrae. Their front legs are somewhat longer then their back legs, and make them seem a little uneven
Giraffes have evolved to where they have a unique heart system.
The heart of a giraffe has to make about two times the normal blood flow to get to the top of his tall body.
It is large, and weights about 25 pounds and is nearly two feet long.
To get the blood to the giraffes head and work so hard against gravity the heart it has to be larger.
Female giraffes live in smaller groups of about ten or twelve members.
The males live in bachelor herds. In most cases only a few older males will impregnate all of the females.
Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months. They bear a single calf. The mother always gives birth whilst standing up, and the sack which holds the baby will break when it hits the ground.
Newborn giraffe calves are about 5 feet tall. They can run around within a few hours of being born. For the first two weeks they lie down most of the time with the mother to guard them. Only one of every four babies will live to be an adult.
The males often do a thing called necking, which is a type of combat in some cases..
“These battles can be fatal, but are more often less severe. The longer a neck is, and the heavier the head at the end of the neck, the greater force a giraffe will be able to deliver in a blow.
After a necking duel, a giraffe can land a powerful blow with his head occasionally knocking a male opponent to the ground. These fights rarely last more than a few minutes or end in physical harm.”