Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
Northern Kenya, Somalia
Dry savannas and open woodlands, usually associated with scattered acacia growth
Diet in the Wild:
Acacia tree leaves as well as other trees and large shrubs, vines and creepers. Forage on evergreen in dry season.
The tallest mammal, males can reach up to 18 feet and weigh up to 2300 lbs. The reticulated giraffe is distinguished from other species by its chestnut-colored square patches defined by a network of fine white lines.
Giraffes are found in herds of up to 40 animals in the wild. It usually sleeps standing up and is active mainly in the morning and evening. Because it are so tall, is has very elastic blood vessels and valves in its neck to offset the sudden build up of blood pressure when it swings its head. It must also bend its knees and spread its legs to reach the ground for a drink. The pattern on its body is unique, like a human fingerprint.
Breeding occurs throughout the year and the average gestation period is 455 days. Giraffes give birth standing up, so the calf falls a couple of feet onto the ground. Calves will be about 8 feet tall by the end of its first year, and reach reproductive maturity at 2 ½ for males and 4 years for females.
Although giraffes are common in the wild, their numbers are declining due to human encroachment. Giraffe tails, used as good-luck charms are highly prized amongst some African tribes.