The giraffe is a remarkable African animal, the third-largest ruminant, and the tallest living animal. It is currently considered to be one specific species, Giraffa Camelopardalis, with eight subspecies in the wild.
There are approximately two hundred and sixty species of both land and water-dwelling mammals in its family. Interestingly, giraffes are unique among mammals in that they are among the first animals to speck dinosaurs directly out of the fossil record.
Giraffes have long necks and narrow heads, and these features make them the only mammals with long and soft hair tufts on their neck, face, and legs. Their short and wide bodies result in robust strength and endurance, allowing its to survive even the harshest climates on earth.
However, giraffes are not just strong; their thick and robust legs and tails serve to assist them in moving through the sand or grass at speeds up to thirty miles per hour. In fact, their tails help them run quickly on the sand, giving them an advantage in their aquatic lifestyle.
The giraffe, also known as the African Wild Dog, was first brought to the world’s attention when Vincent Van Gogh drew it from its natural habitat in Africa. Although giraffes are one of the least seen of all mammals, they are considered by most scientists to be a very important part of the African, ecological ecosystem.
They are one of the few mammals that are believed to have sustained self-population in areas where hunting has diminished over time. By conserving their numbers in protected areas, giraffes contribute significantly to the well being of their native habitats.
One of the most unique features of giraffes is their ability to grow long thin legs. Unlike other species of mammals, giraffes have three types of legs. Long thin legs, called giraffe legs; have been medically distinguished as having no joint in the knee area.
This unique feature makes it easier for giraffes to walk on the sand at speeds up to thirty miles per hour. Only one subspecies, Giraffa mishaps, has the ability to walk on both their long and short legs at the same time, although they normally do not mix their legs during walking.
The average weight of giraffes is between eight and fifteen pounds, although weight varies greatly due to their activity level and diet. The average length is between two and four feet; height between one and two and a half feet; and tail length between one and two and a half feet.
The color is usually brown with black spots on its legs. Occasionally they may display orange and black markings on their chest and flanks.
Giraffe herd animals in the southern part of the Serengeti plains between Kenya and Tanzania. They have adapted to life in the wilds of this arid and desert landscape.
Inhabited since time out of mind, giraffes are experiencing rapid population growth due to hunting and habitat encroachment by human beings. They display surprising strength when confronted by predators and are even courageous enough to take down lions and other large creatures.
A keystone predator, the giraffe is now facing threats from increasing numbers of hunters and expanding habitats of big game seekers.