Sydney Zoo | Giraffe
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Giraffe

Giraffe

Species Giraffa Cameleopadalis
Giraffe
Giraffe Distribution MapDistribution
Giraffe
Height
6m
Top speed
60km/h
Favourite Food
Leaves (especially Acacia, Myrrh and Bushwillow)
Collective noun
Tower

Although the most notable feature of a giraffe is their long neck, like all other mammals it still contains only seven vertebrae. Despite this long neck, giraffe are unable to reach the ground to drink and must stand with their front legs spread in order to gain access to water.

Like zebras, the skin markings on a giraffe are unique to each individual and can be used to identify which sub-species the giraffe belongs to.

In the past giraffe were thought to be unsociable animals, however this has now been proved to be untrue. Giraffe form small groups or pair-up and these smaller groups can then be assimilated into larger groups, or towers comprising of 40 plus individuals. The most strongly tied of these towers are made up of mothers and their calves, although bachelor groups of young males are also common.

Male giraffe are polyamorous and will breed with females they meet as they travel through their home ranges. A single calf, anything up to 2m in height, is born after 400-460 days. Male giraffe have no role in raising the calf and it is not uncommon for mothers to leave their calves with an experienced female for short periods of time.

Conservation Status

Did You Know?

A giraffe’s tongue can be up to 50cm long and is a blueish colour which helps to prevent sunburn.