Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi
Africa south of the Sahara
Wild: Leaves of acacia, mimosa, and other trees
Zoo: Alfalfa hay, herbivore (a pelleted grain supplement), salt block
15 to 20 months depending on nutrition of mother
This is the tallest living mammal, standing an average of 16 to 18 feet for a male and 1 or 2 feet less for a female. (The record in a zoo was 192".) Weight can range to a maximum of 1,760 lbs. The long neck has the usual 7 vertebrae, but each is quite long. In fact, all the bones in a giraffe are long. The coat consists of brown or reddish blotches on a lighter background. Giraffe horns are unlike those of other mammals. They are present at birth as cartilaginous knobs and become bony later as the animal matures. Eventually the horns fuse with the skull. They are like deer antlers that are in permanent velvet.Giraffes live in herds whose composition constantly changes. They spend the day browsing, but at night retire to an open area where their great height and excellent eyesight make it difficult for a predator to approach unobserved. They take turns sleeping, with one or two always on guard. The pull leaves off twigs with their long prehensile tongues, which are black.The calf is born with the mother standing, and undergoes a 6 foot drop as its introduction to the world. A calf weighs 100 to 150 lbs. at birth, and stands 6 feet tall.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the African Plains at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.