COMMON NAME: Giraffe
SWAHILI NAME: Twiga
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Giraffa camelopardalis
FOOD: Herbivores (Acacia leaves at the apex of the tree)
HABITAT: Savannah woodland (Acacia )
SIZE: 14 to 19 ft ( 4.3 to 5.8 m) – 3 cm to the shoulder
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE NATURAL HABITAT: 25 years
ACTIVE: Day and Night
GESTATION PERIOD: 15 months
WEIGHT: 794 to 1270 kg (1,750 to 2,800 lbs)
SIZE COMPARISON TO A 6-FT MAN:
The giraffe is the tallest animal on land with an average height of around 5 meters (16-18 ft.) from top to bottom.
Its scientific name Giraffa camelopardalis came from the belief that it was related to a camel and a leopard because of its resemblance to the camel, characterized by its long legs, long neck, and distinctive spotted pattern that makes it look like a leopard’s pattern.
Giraffes live in Africa’s savannah woodland where acacia trees are found in plenty. Their long height makes them eat leaves and shoots located higher on the trees where other animals cannot reach.
The best place to see the giraffe in Tanzania is the Serengeti National park and the Tarangire national park where there are many Masai giraffes.
The best destinations to see the giraffes in Kenya is the Amboseli national park, Masai Mara Game Reserve and Samburu National park where there are many reticulated giraffes.
Their adaptation to their environment gives them long tongues which to help pull leaves from the trees. A full-grown giraffe consumes over 45 kg (100 lb.) of leaves and twigs a day which means they spend most of the day eating.
When walkinggiraffes move like they are cat walking, both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side; this unique movement is specific to giraffes. They run just like all other animals, however they cannot run for a long distance with a running speed that can reach 55 km/h (35 mph) at full speed.
Giraffes are active for more than 20 hours a day, they remain active day and night and they sleep less than two hours a day. When sleeping, giraffes tuck their long feet with their head resting on their hindquarters, Sometimes they sleep while standing for a very short time.
Normally in the wild, Giraffe live up to 25 years. At around 5 years old, an adult female giraffe is able to become pregnant. About the giraffe gestation period, they carry a baby for about 15 months and give birth while standing up an event that is very quick and takes about 30 minutes before the baby giraffe becomes vulnerable to predators like lions and hyenas. Newborns are about 2 m (6 ft.) tall and weigh 70 kg (150 lb.).
The most common giraffe species that is found in Tanzania is the Maasai Giraffe, while a few species of the reticulated giraffes can be found in parts of Kenya, like the Samburu national park. It was in 2016 that Genetic research led to a four new taxonomic classification derived from single species of giraffes which also led way to five subspecies and two ecotypes. The new species which are listed below include the northern giraffe, the southern giraffe, the reticulated giraffe and the famous Masai giraffe.
The Masai giraffe also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe also scientifically referred to as (Giraffa tippelskirchi), is the largest of all the giraffe species. The Masai giraffe is alsothe tallest land animal.
The Rothschild’s giraffe formerly one of the subspecies is now considered and ecotype of the Northern giraffe because of the taxonomy changes of 2016. This giraffe also is known as Ugandan or Baringo dwells mainly in Kenya and Uganda.
The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa reticulata) has a coat pattern with uniform-colored spots and sharp edges making it easy to identify. They inhabit the savannas and open forests of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
The Northern Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is a species that according to the new taxonomic classification of 2016 it has three subspecies, the Nubian, the Kordofan and the West African giraffes. The savannahs of Kenya and Ethiopia are its primary habitats.
The West African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta) also known as Nigerian giraffe is one of the subspecies of the Northern giraffe which inhabits a small area of Nigeria and is probably the most threatened subspecies.
The Southern Giraffe (Giraffa giraffa) has two subspecies, the Angolan giraffe, and the South African giraffe according to the new taxonomic classification of 2016. Both subspecies dwell in countries like Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
|Southern giraffe||Giraffa giraffa||
|Angolan giraffe||G. g. angolensis||
|South African giraffe||G. g. giraffa||
|Northern giraffe||Giraffa camelopardalis||
|Nubian giraffe||G. c. camelopardalis||
|Kordofan giraffe||G. c. antiquorum||
|West African giraffe||G. c. peralta||
|Reticulated giraffe||Giraffa reticulata||
|Masai giraffe||Giraffa tippelskirchi||