Information we provide about giraffes:
Giraffes, with their exceptionally long legs, are by far the tallest mammals on earth.
Giraffes are found throughout the central and South African savannah (African plains), from south of the Sahara desert to as far south as South Africa.
The reticulated giraffe is the most readily recognized giraffe sub-species. It is found mainly in southern Ethopia and northern Kenya.
It has a pattern of reddish-brown patches on its hide that looks as if it has been covered with a large net. This net-like pattern gives it the name reticulated giraffe.
It has a very long neck and a small head with three horns.
Mainly found on the northern savannah regions of Africa.
The Maasai giraffe has a darker coloured hide (than giraffes with blotched patterns). It has irregularly shaped brown patches with jagged edges. Older males are usually darker in colour than female giraffes or their young. Both sexes have a pair of short, bony horns, called ossicorns; older males may have one or more additional ones.
They have yellower hides with odd shaped patches of various sizes.
Has two horns (ossicorns) and instead of a third horn, like the reticulated giraffe, it has just a small bump on the front of its head.
Mainly found further south in Africa.
Males are known to grow up to 11 ft, 6 inches (3.5m) at shoulder-height and 18 ft (5.5m) tall to the top of it's head. They can also weigh as much as 3,000 lb (1,365 kg).
The giraffe's height enables it to feed on foliage and shoots beyond the reach of other browsers, so it does not have much competition for food, except from other giraffes!
It strips the food from trees with its powerful lips and 18ins (450mm) long prehensile tongue.
The giraffe's tongue is blue-black or black, (possibly to prevent sunburn).
Giraffes are found mainly in the drier savannah woodlands. They prefer to feed off acacia, mimosa and deciduous trees and bushes.
They belong to the Giraffidae family.
There's only one species of giraffe: Giraffa camelopardalis, with nine generally accepted subspecies.
The subspecies are distinguished by the coat markings (colour, size, and shape) and their geographic range and location.
Here are the scientific/latin names of the most common giraffes:
The only other member of the Giraffidae family is the okapi, which is sometimes called the forest giraffe.
In the wild, the okapi species is only found in north-eastern Zaire. Visit our about the okapi page for more information about this little-known animal.
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