The Giraffe is a long-necked, hoofed mammal that is natively found grazing in the open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. The Giraffe is the tallest living animal on land and despite its height is mostly closely related to the much smaller and solitary Okapi, that is found elusively dwelling in the dense tropical forests.
There are nine recognized sub-species of Giraffe that are found in differing geographic locations and vary somewhat in the color and pattern of their spot-like markings. Although the Giraffe would have once been found across sub-Saharan Africa and even in parts of North Africa, today they are extinct from much of their historically vast natural range with only small, isolated populations remaining in a handful of regions in central Africa. Further south however, Giraffe populations are considered to be stable and are even growing in some areas due to an increase in demand for them on private ranches.
Despite their length, the neck of the Giraffe actually contains the same number of bones as numerous other hoofed mammals but they are simply longer in shape. The Giraffe’s elongated neck leads into a short body, with long and thin, straight legs and a long tail that is tipped with a black tuft that helps to keep flies away. The Giraffe tends to be white in colour with brown or reddish markings that cover its body (with the exception of their white lower legs). The markings of each Giraffe are not only unique to that individual but they also vary greatly between the different Giraffe species in size, colour and the amount of white that surrounds them. All Giraffes though have large eyes that along with their height give them excellent vision, and small horn-like ossicones on the top of their heads.
Keywords to learn
Hoof: The horny part of the foot of an ungulate animal, especially a horse
Elongated: Long in relation to width, especially unusually so
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Scientific Name:Giraffa camelopardalis.
Mass:1,750 to 2,800 pounds.
Length:14 to 19 feet.
Region found:sub-Saharan Africa.
Current population trend:Decreasing.
Sexual maturity:3.5 – 4.5 years.
As you have just learned, the Giraffe is tallest mammal in the world and is a beautiful creature. It is one of children’s favourite tall animals.
Now that you know more about the Giraffe by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
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Giraffe Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. Those long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles an hour over longer distances.
- # 2. Typically, these fascinating animals roam the open grasslands in small groups of about half a dozen.
- # 3. Bulls sometimes battle one another by butting their long necks and heads. Such contests aren’t usually dangerous and end when one animal submits and walks away.
- # 4. Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young endure a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 5 feet to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth.
- # 5. Up until recently, the consensus has been there is only one species of giraffe with multiple subspecies. In 2016, some scientists released a study that claims genetic differences among giraffe populations indicate the existence of four distinct giraffe species.
# 1. How many sup-species of giraffe are recognized?
# 2. What class does the giraffe belong to?
# 3. What is the age of sexual maturity in giraffes?
# 4. How fast can a giraffe run?
# 5. How long is a female giraffe in labor for?