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Giraffa camelopardais

Interesting facts about Giraffes

Standing up to 6 metres tall the Giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. Males can weigh up to 1600 kg while females weigh a bit more than half of that. Females and juveniles have tufts of hair on their short 'horns'. Males have little or no hair on their 'horns'.

Although the giraffe is found across a large portion of Africa their distribution is not continuous which has caused a number of sub-species to emerge.

The nearest living relative of the Giraffe is the Okapi.

Giraffes are normally found in more open woodland or savanna habitats. Their height advantage allows them to browse from the tops of trees.

They can go for up to 3 days without drinking water.

At night they tend to lie down.

Although giraffes are often seen in loose herds the make-up of those herds tends to change all the time and the animals do not form strong bonds with eachother.

In most cases a female Giraffe gives birth to a single calf.

Giraffes are well-known for fighting each other by swinging their powerful necks. This activity appears to be a way of establishing dominance between males. The duels may be quite relaxed or really intense.

Adults can live up to 25 years. They are sometimes hunted by Lions but their sheer size and powerful kicks help protect them.


Photo © Steven Herbert

Giraffe lying down in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - OK, Giraffe are big animals and it must be a bit awkward for them to do things that seem easy for smaller animals. They are able to lie down by tucking their legs under their bodies but they keep their heads up.

Below - Drinking is also a bit of a mission. They spread their front legs to lower their bodies while drinking. As can be seen in the picture below the rear view is not very glamorous! Giraffe drinking in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert



List of South African Mammals


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This large mammal is not part of the Big 5


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