Giraffes have seven (very large) vertebrae in their necks…Which is the same number as humans!
|Scientific Name||Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata|
|Life span||15 to 20 years|
|Number of young at birth||usually 1|
|Size at birth||6 feet tall (1.8 m), 100 to 150 pounds (45 to 68 kg)|
|Age of maturity||3 to 5 years|
|Conservation status||Low concern|
Living where the food is
Reticulated giraffes live in the dry savanna-grassland areas of northeast Africa (Somalia and Northern Kenya). This is where they can find leafy trees to eat.
Do they just eat leaves?
Well, mostly they do eat broad-leafed foliage. But they also eat twigs and acacia bark. Alfalfa hay and a specially formulated pellet-grain food make up their diet at the Zoo.
Head and shoulders above the rest
Giraffes are the tallest of all mammals at 14 to 19 feet high. Their long necks contain seven vertebrae and they have manes of short, stiff hairs. Giraffes have large brown spots outlined in white. On their head are two short horns and a knob on the forehead. Their black tongue can be up to 20 inches long and is used for grasping leaves and other food from trees and plants.
Make a path!
Giraffes are able to move about by walking or galloping in open spaces. To drink, they must spread their front legs in a wide “V” while bending down to the water. They defend themselves by kicking and can run at speeds up to 35 mph. They have excellent eyesight and hearing.
A very tall family
Giraffes may live in herds of up to 40 animals. Female giraffes give birth to live young while standing in tall grass which cushions the baby’s fall.