9 Interesting facts about the tallest mammal, Giraffe
1- The giraffe is scientifically known as Giraffa camelopardalis which is specially known for its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones and its distinctive coat patterns. It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females. Giraffe has nine sub-species which are distinguished by their coat patterns.
2- Giraffe is the tallest mammal which eats up to 75 pounds of food a day (typically Acacia leaves which is their food item) and uses its long tongue to eat the leaves of trees. Giraffe has a four chambered stomach and will regurgitate their food for additional chewing – similarly to a cow. Although, the giraffes get most of their water from the Acacia leaf, but will drink up to 10 gallons of water per day.
3- Although, some species of Giraffe are classified as endangered; the International Union for conservation of Nature has listed Giraffe as species of Least Concern. The Nubian Giraffe, the Kordofan Giraffe, the Rothschild Giraffe, the Reticulated Giraffe and the West African Giraffe are found in rare numbers on the lovely planet. The Angolan Giraffe, the South African Giraffe, the Massai Giraffe and the Rhodesian Giraffe have reasonable numbers and also sufficiently kept in the world zoos.
4- The heart of Giraffe is normally 2 feet long and weighs about 25 pounds having various thick muscular walls. Giraffes are the highest known blood pressure of any mammal in the world – up to 280/180mm Hg when prone at heart level (approximately twice that of an average human). Giraffe’s heart beats up to 170 times/minute which also pumps about 16 gallons of blood/minute. The biologists take extreme care while catching giraffes for research purposes or for capture for a zoo exhibit because if the Giraffes run too long, they will suffer a heart attack due to the high blood pressure.
5- Giraffes are native to Africa and can be found in a range that extends from Chad in Central Africa to South Africa. The ideal habitats for the Giraffes are the arid regions such as savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands. Giraffes belong to the family Giraffidae. The family Giraffidae, in turn is subdivided into two subgroups, the genus Giraffa and the genus Okapia.
6- One of the most distinctive features of Giraffe is its short horns on its head which is also known as ossicones. Both male and female giraffes have horns. Giraffe horns are formed from ossified cartilage (cartilage that has transformed into bone) and for that reason the horns of giraffes are also called ossicones. The ossicones of giraffes remain covered by skin and fur. Ossicones can help to distinguish between male and female giraffes. Females have tufts of hair on the top of the ossicones. Males, in contrast, usually have bare-topped ossicones.
7- The Female Giraffes have their first conception in their fifth year; the gestation period is of 15 months and the interval between births is generally 20 months. Giraffe has the life expectancy of 25 years in the wild. The baby Giraffe is generally 6 feet tall and will weigh about 150 pounds at birth and it begins nursing within one hour. A baby Giraffe generally begins walking within one hour and it spends between 16 and 20 hours a day feeding.
8- A giraffe’s neck is of 1.5 – 1.8 meters, which contains the same number of vertebrae at a human neck. With the help of its long neck, a giraffe is able to reach leaves, fruit and flowers high up in Acacia’s and other sought after tree species. Similarly, Giraffes have the longest tails of any land mammal – up to 8 feet long, including the tuft at the end. Male giraffes sometimes fight with their necks over female giraffes. This is called “necking”. The two giraffes stand side by side and one giraffe swings his head and neck, hitting his head against the other giraffe. Sometimes one giraffe is hit to the ground during a combat.
9- One of the most surprising giraffe facts is that they sleep far less than most other mammals, typically less than two hours a day (on average, 1.9 hours). Another interesting fact about a giraffe has perhaps the keenest eyes vision together with its height; thus the greatest range of vision of any terrestrial creature. Like a camel, a giraffe can stock up on water and then go without drinking for long periods of time.