Reticulated Giraffe

Giraffe, Reticulated

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Giraffe are the world’s tallest mammal. At birth calves stand up to about 6.5 ft (2 m) tall and weigh 110-200 lb (50-90 kg). Both males and female have a spotted coat with varying patterns and colors depending on the subspecies. The pattern for an individual giraffe is constant throughout their life but the coat color may change depending on age and health. The giraffe’s incredibly long neck contains seven elongated vertebrae, the same number as in a human neck.  An adult will have on average an 18 in (45 cm) black to purple prehensile tongue that grasps prickly food from hard to reach places. Being very tall animals, giraffe have incredibly high blood pressure, averaging 260/160. One-way valves and elastic blood vessels in the neck control blood pressure in the head when the giraffe is bent over. Without these the giraffe would lose consciousness.  Giraffe have long, sturdy legs, and their front legs longer than their back legs. They also sport horn structures, called ossicones. Female ossicones are thin and tufted; male giraffe ossicones are thick but the hair is often missing on the top due to sparring.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Giraffidae
Genus
Giraffa
Species
G. camelopardalis reticulate
Conservation Status
Vulnerable

Key Facts

Height
14-20 ft (~4.3-6 m)
Weight
1800-3500 lb (~815-1590 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Giraffa camelopardalis as Vulnerable, with a total population of ~97,000 individuals. There has been an estimated 40% decline in giraffe population in the last 30 years. Some sub-species in east and southern Africa remain stable but others in north and west Africa are declining. Main threats to giraffe are habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching.

There are believed to be nine subspecies of giraffe:
*Masai giraffeG. c. tippelschircki: population < 35,000
Angolan giraffe, G. c. angolensis: population < 30,600
South African giraffe, G. c. giraffa: population < 21,400
*Reticulated giraffe, G. c. reticulata: population < 8,700
Kordofan giraffe G. c. antiquorum, population < 2,000
Thornicroft’s giraffe, G c. thornicrofti: population < 600
Rothschild’s giraffe, G. c. rothschildi: population < 1,700
West African giraffe, G. c. peralta: population < 400
Nubian giraffe, G. c. camelopardalis: population < 650
* Safari West currently has Masai and reticulated giraffe

Social Life
Giraffe are social animals, but do not form stable, long-term herds. Herd types can include all female, all male, females with young calves, or mixed gender and usually contain 10-20 individuals, although herds of up to 70 have been observed. Individual giraffes join and leave the herd at will. Female giraffes, with their young, are often found together while immature males form bachelor herds, and then become more solitary as they mature. Adult male giraffes establish dominance by “necking”, which occurs when two males stand side-by-side and swing their heads at one another violently.  Giraffe feed and drink during the morning and evening and rest at night, generally while standing up.

Habitat and Range
Giraffe inhabit arid, dry land with Acacia trees and are found in savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. Because they only occasionally drink, giraffes can be found far from sources of water. Giraffes have disappeared from most of western Africa, except a residual population in Niger and have been reintroduced in South Africa to game reserves.
*Reticulated giraffe are found in Ethiopia and Somalia in North Africa

Diet
Giraffe are browsers that feed on leaves, flowers, seed pods, and fruit, with the majority of their diet composed of the leaves of the Acacia trees.  In areas where the savanna is salty or high in minerals, they eat soil as well. Giraffes browse by taking the branches in their mouths and pulling back their heads to tear away the leaves. Female giraffe are more selective when feeding and choose foliage with the highest nutritional value.

Lifespan
In the wild giraffe live for 15-20 years and 25-30 years in captivity.

Predators
Adult giraffe are well able to defend themselves and thus have few predators. They run up to 35 mph (56 kph) and can deliver deadly blows with their hooves. Most predators, such as lions, crocodiles, leopards and hyenas target young, sick, or elderly giraffe.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male, 4-5 years, Female: 3-4 years
Mating Season: May to August
Birth Season:    June to November, typically giving birth every 20-30 months
Gestation:          400-468 days (13-15 months)
No. of Young:     1

 

 

Information

Description

Giraffe are the world’s tallest mammal. At birth calves stand up to about 6.5 ft (2 m) tall and weigh 110-200 lb (50-90 kg). Both males and female have a spotted coat with varying patterns and colors depending on the subspecies. The pattern for an individual giraffe is constant throughout their life but the coat color may change depending on age and health. The giraffe’s incredibly long neck contains seven elongated vertebrae, the same number as in a human neck.  An adult will have on average an 18 in (45 cm) black to purple prehensile tongue that grasps prickly food from hard to reach places. Being very tall animals, giraffe have incredibly high blood pressure, averaging 260/160. One-way valves and elastic blood vessels in the neck control blood pressure in the head when the giraffe is bent over. Without these the giraffe would lose consciousness.  Giraffe have long, sturdy legs, and their front legs longer than their back legs. They also sport horn structures, called ossicones. Female ossicones are thin and tufted; male giraffe ossicones are thick but the hair is often missing on the top due to sparring.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Giraffidae
Genus
Giraffa
Species
G. camelopardalis reticulate
Conservation Status
Vulnerable

Key Facts

Height
14-20 ft (~4.3-6 m)
Weight
1800-3500 lb (~815-1590 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Giraffa camelopardalis as Vulnerable, with a total population of ~97,000 individuals. There has been an estimated 40% decline in giraffe population in the last 30 years. Some sub-species in east and southern Africa remain stable but others in north and west Africa are declining. Main threats to giraffe are habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching.

There are believed to be nine subspecies of giraffe:
*Masai giraffeG. c. tippelschircki: population < 35,000
Angolan giraffe, G. c. angolensis: population < 30,600
South African giraffe, G. c. giraffa: population < 21,400
*Reticulated giraffe, G. c. reticulata: population < 8,700
Kordofan giraffe G. c. antiquorum, population < 2,000
Thornicroft’s giraffe, G c. thornicrofti: population < 600
Rothschild’s giraffe, G. c. rothschildi: population < 1,700
West African giraffe, G. c. peralta: population < 400
Nubian giraffe, G. c. camelopardalis: population < 650
* Safari West currently has Masai and reticulated giraffe

Lifestyle

Social Life
Giraffe are social animals, but do not form stable, long-term herds. Herd types can include all female, all male, females with young calves, or mixed gender and usually contain 10-20 individuals, although herds of up to 70 have been observed. Individual giraffes join and leave the herd at will. Female giraffes, with their young, are often found together while immature males form bachelor herds, and then become more solitary as they mature. Adult male giraffes establish dominance by “necking”, which occurs when two males stand side-by-side and swing their heads at one another violently.  Giraffe feed and drink during the morning and evening and rest at night, generally while standing up.

Habitat and Range
Giraffe inhabit arid, dry land with Acacia trees and are found in savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. Because they only occasionally drink, giraffes can be found far from sources of water. Giraffes have disappeared from most of western Africa, except a residual population in Niger and have been reintroduced in South Africa to game reserves.
*Reticulated giraffe are found in Ethiopia and Somalia in North Africa

Diet
Giraffe are browsers that feed on leaves, flowers, seed pods, and fruit, with the majority of their diet composed of the leaves of the Acacia trees.  In areas where the savanna is salty or high in minerals, they eat soil as well. Giraffes browse by taking the branches in their mouths and pulling back their heads to tear away the leaves. Female giraffe are more selective when feeding and choose foliage with the highest nutritional value.

Lifespan
In the wild giraffe live for 15-20 years and 25-30 years in captivity.

Predators
Adult giraffe are well able to defend themselves and thus have few predators. They run up to 35 mph (56 kph) and can deliver deadly blows with their hooves. Most predators, such as lions, crocodiles, leopards and hyenas target young, sick, or elderly giraffe.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male, 4-5 years, Female: 3-4 years
Mating Season: May to August
Birth Season:    June to November, typically giving birth every 20-30 months
Gestation:          400-468 days (13-15 months)
No. of Young:     1

 

 

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Giraffe, Reticulated