Species: G. camelopardalis
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb) while the average mass for an adult female is 830 kilograms (1,800 lb). It is approximately 4.3 metres (14 ft) to 5.2 metres (17 ft) tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 6 meters (20 ft). A giraffe’s legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet (1.8 meters). These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour over longer distances.
Typically, these fascinating animals roam the open grasslands in small groups of about half a dozen.
Bulls sometimes battle one another by butting their long necks and heads. Such contests aren’t usually dangerous and end when one animal submits and walks away.
Giraffes use their height to good advantage and browse on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach (acacias are a favorite). Even the giraffe’s tongue is long! The 21-inch (53-centimeter) tongue helps them pluck tasty morsels from branches. Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. A giraffe eats hundreds of pounds of leaves each week and must travel miles to find enough food.
The giraffe’s height also helps it to keep a sharp lookout for predators across the wide expanse of the African savanna.
Kruger National Park, South Africa (August 2011)