Giraffe Ithala KZN South Africa by Luca Galuzzi | [CC BY-SA 2.5]
Giraffe Ithala KZN South Africa by Luca Galuzzi | [CC BY-SA 2.5]

About northern giraffes.

There are 4 distinct species of giraffe and 4 subspecies of the northern giraffe. The main difference among all of them is the shape, tone and pattern of the spots found on their fur, as well as less noticeable differences in body shape and size.

It is the tallest existent terrestrial animal. It can measure up to 5.8 m high.

These animals don’t have strong social bonds, but they can gather in herds to travel from one place to the other.

Their main predators are lions, but also leopards, hyenas and wild dogs pose a threat. Cubs are the main victims.

Due to their height, giraffes have to adopt a very uncomfortable position to drink. They spread their legs and lower their body to reach the water, what makes them vulnerable to crocodile attacks.

Giraffes can reach a speed of up to 55 km/h, clearing 4.5 m in one stride.

To court females during the mating season, males may fight with their necks and heads. These animals have vocal cords, but they rarely use them. They prefer non-verbal communication through movements or hissing sounds.

Their tongue is extremely long. They use its 50 cm to clean their ears and nose, as well as to grab things or food. It has a dark color to prevent it from getting sunburnt.

Giraffes give birth standing up. The baby falls from a height of 1 m and 30 minutes later they can stand. 10 hours later they can also run.

Giraffes are remarkably strong. They don’t always run away from enemies, but sometimes face them. They have strong leg muscles and large hooves that can cause serious harm to predators with just one kick.

Its spot pattern is a unique identifier for each animal. It is similar to human fingerprints.

Giraffes sleep only 2 hours per day and they remain almost always alert. It is also the only vertebrate that doesn’t yawn.

Giraffe walking through the grasslands (Masai Mara; Kenya). By Paul Banton |
Giraffe walking through the grasslands (Masai Mara; Kenya). By Paul Banton |
Northern giraffeVulnerable
Giraffa camelopardalis4.3–5.7 m (14.1–18.7 ft)
Giraffidae828-1,192 kg (1,825-2,628 lbs)
Artiodactyla25 years in the wild
Mammalia400-460 days
Around 70,000 individualsThey feed routinely on Acacia leaves from places other herbivores can not reach.
It inhabits savannas, grasslands and open woodlands.Its range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east.

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Zoo portraits is a creative and educational project based on the animal kingdom and is divided into three main areas: Image, education and awareness.



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