The giraffe (lat.Giraffa camelopardalis) is the tallest of modern animals. A mammal of the artiodactyl order, common in sub-Saharan Africa, where the species usually inhabits savannas with sparsely standing trees and shrubs.
Depending on the pattern and place of origin, giraffes are divided into nine subspecies: Nubian, West African, Ugandan, Masai, Angolan, South African, reticulated, Kordofan giraffe and Thornicroft giraffe.
The giraffe is the tallest animal on the planet. It really is. Highest, but not the largest. The giraffe is the fourth largest land animal; only an elephant, a hippo and a rhino are larger than a giraffe. The largest males reach a height of 5.9 m to the crown and 3.7 m at the withers with a weight of approx. 2 tons (average values are about 5.2 m, 3 m and about 1 ton). Females are on average smaller: about 4.4 m to the crown, 2.7 m at the withers and weighing 600 kg.
There are many cervical vertebrae in the giraffe's neck. Oddly enough, but in the neck of a giraffe, like in most mammals, there are only 7 elongated cervical vertebrae, which, of course, cannot but affect its circulatory system, which is under tremendous stress. In this regard, the giraffe differs from other animals rather by its strong heart, which, with a weight of 12 kilograms, is capable of pumping up to 60 liters of blood per minute and creating a pressure three times higher than that of humans.
Giraffes are equally spotted. No more than people are alike. The pattern on the skin of a giraffe is unique and never repeated in another giraffe.
Giraffes can only be found in Africa. Despite the fact that the ancestors of modern giraffes lived throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, today giraffes can be found in the wild only south of the Sahara, mainly in the steppes of South and East Africa. The largest populations of giraffes are found in reserves and reserves.
Giraffes lead a gregarious lifestyle. Not all and not always. The craving for the herd appears in giraffes during the period of protection from an external enemy and also depends on the sex of the animal - females usually reach out to their relatives, but males, especially those who have reached puberty or have reached old age, often prefer proud loneliness.
Giraffes eat exclusively plant foods. And this is not surprising, because at the height where they find this food, they have no competitors. A giraffe needs about 50 kilograms of food per day, which forces the animal to eat for almost all 24 hours.
Giraffes are very slow. Only at first glance. In case of danger, lazy grazing giraffes can reach speeds of up to 55 km / h at a gallop and overcome a barrier almost 2 meters high.
The giraffe only has a pair of horns. Of the obvious ones that everyone notices. There is also a third "horn" - a bony outgrowth in the area between the eyes, which is most often found in males. Bony outgrowths at the top of the back of the head can also grow to the point that they resemble horns. Older males, in which all horns are well developed, are called "five-horned" giraffes.
Giraffes drink little. They receive water mainly from plants, so they can do without it for several weeks. But in one sitting, a giraffe can easily master up to 40 liters of water.
Giraffes do not communicate with each other through sounds. Communicate. It's just that we don't always hear them, since the frequency of their 20-hertz conversation is far from our human hearing.
Giraffes give birth while standing. After 15 months of pregnancy and usually only one cub. The first thing that awaits a small (2 meters and 50 kg weight) giraffe in this world is a fall from a height of two meters.
Giraffes sleep very little. In snatches, for several minutes, in the aggregate from 20 minutes to an hour a day.
There are no giraffes without spots. A number of scientists, relying on some ancient Egyptian images of giraffes without spots, believe that in ancient times giraffes were found in North Africa, whose body was evenly colored. True, not everyone shares their point of view, because there are similar images, but already of giraffes with spots. In modern times, giraffes without spotted patterns do not exist.
Giraffes have few natural enemies. Especially in adults. The prey of lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs are usually young individuals. Adults are quite capable of opening the attacker's skull with a blow of the front hooves.
There are no short giraffes. Except for the okapi, whose height at the withers reaches about 160 centimeters. And although outwardly it looks more like a cross between a horse and a zebra, in fact it is a real little giraffe.