Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The World's Biggest Pollinator

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal in the world, and serve an important role in their environment as a pollinator and seed disperser. As giraffes move from treetop to treetop, pollen gets stuck to their ossicones, and is transferred between trees, aiding in pollination! Giraffe droppings usually contain seeds that can germinate and grown into a new tree.

About the Species

Giraffes species can easily be identified by their coat pattern.

Each subspecies of giraffe has a distinctive type of coat, but did you know a individual's coat pattern is like your fingerprints? No two giraffes have the exact same coat pattern! Giraffes live in the savannas of Africa, feeding on leaves and flowers. Their height gives them the advantage over other herbivores. They use their long purple prehensile tongue to rip leaves off branches. The giraffe's height also gives them an advantage when looking out for predators. A giraffe is designed to escape their predators. Giraffes move so that their front and back legs on each side move forward together. They can run around 35 miles per hour. If forced to defend themselves, they have a powerful and deadly kick. Giraffe are over 15 feet tall as adults and are 6 feet tall when born. Their height allows them to reach the leaves of the acacia tree.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Giraffes in the wild are facing a silent extinction: a 40% decline in population in the last three decades. We refer to this as a "silent extinction" because the decline of giraffes have been overshadowed by concerns for other animals such as elephants and rhinos. Factors leading to their decline include habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching.

Tammi

Did You Know?

Did you know you have something in common with the tallest land mammal? We have the same number of bones in our necks as giraffes : 7 cervical vertebrae.

Facts

Origin

Sub-Saharan Africa

Habitat

savannas, grasslands, open woodlands

Size

Average height of 5.6m (18 ft) with females slightly shorter than the males/Average weight is from 953.8-1811kg (2102-3992 lbs)

Diet

Leaves, flowers, fruit

Predators

Lion, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles

Natural Defenses

Size, kicking, vocalizations

Reproduction

One baby with a gestation period of a year and a few months

Status

Vulnerable

Life Expectancy

10-15 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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