Giraffe is the highest mammal all over the world that belongs to the articulate detachment and belongs to the “giraffe” family. It is considered one of the most recognizable animals, which is facilitated by coloring and size.
Types of giraffes
There are four main types of giraffes:
It is considered the largest subspecies, it is these individuals that are called the highest animals on Earth. Lives in Tanzania and Kenya. Small spots in the form of cloves, the shape of the skull and enormous sizes are the main feature of the appearance of this animal.
View with the highest at the moment. South African giraffes, as follows from the name, live mainly in South Africa. As an area, there may also be Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia. The spots spread throughout the body and have a red tint with a rounded shape.
Giraffes, which everyone see in zoos, often belong to this subspecies. In the wild, there are 8500-9000 individuals in the region. The color of the skin consists of many large stains of the coal shape, the color is mainly brown or brown, the spots themselves outline a grid of white lines. The habitats are the tropical forests of the hot continent and the savannah of the African horn.
The rarest species of giraffes listed in the International Red Book. Completely extinct in the wild and are under strict protection. The difference from other individuals can be called more pronounced cartilage growths on the head of males and chestnut spots. Used to be widespread throughout the northern part of Africa, from Egypt to Sudan. Just like mesh, they prefer the habitat of forest and savannah. At the present time, they can only be found in the east of South Sudan and in the south of Ethiopia. Only one zoo of the world, the Al Aina zoo in Abu Dhabi is engaged in breeding.
There are several more subspecies, for example, Rothschild giraffe, which is also often found in zoos. But all the remaining individuals are not recognized and are not included in the classification, since they have no special features, except for the number and the range:
How it looks
The main feature that distinguishes giraffes from all other animals can be called a long neck and, in principle, height. But, even given such huge sizes, the giraffe spine does not differ from standard characteristics and has 7 cervical vertebrae, like any other mammals, as well as people. The color of the giraffe is filled with spots, which are formed in a special pattern that never repeats from another individual. There are horns covered with skin and wool on the head, eyes located on the sides and provide a good overview, and long eyelashes, which some people consider quite attractive.
Many people think that thin legs do not allow giraffes to move quickly, but this opinion is erroneous the average speed of the animal is 60 km/h, and the height of the jump is more than one and a half meters. The run itself looks pretty clumsy and cannot last long, therefore, mostly animals go smoothly and only in case of danger they switch to gallop.
The spots on the body are not only a jewelry, but also a beautiful disguise in the environment they imitate the game of light and shadow in the leaves of the trees, due to which, even with their dimensions, the animal can perfectly hide from predators.
Another feature of appearance can be called a language that has a dark blue, purple or even brown color, thanks to which a long stay under the sun does not harm. It is the language of the giraffes that grab their food, so it has strong muscles and can stretch out half a meter, which allows the animal to even clean his own ears.
Giraffe height and weight
Giraffe growth can reach 6 meters, two of which will come to the neck, famous for its length. The weight ranges from 500 kg to two tons, for comparison you can bring a light machine, the weight of which rarely reaches at least 1,500 kg, which means that an adult of a giraffe is two cars. To maintain such dimensions, the animal has to eat more than fifty kg of foods daily and drink a dozen liters of water. The giant’s heart weighs 10-12 kg on average, and more than 50 liters of blood are distilled in a minute. The pressure in the vessels surpasses the human one three to four times, which is why even a sharp turn of the head can lead to deplorable consequences.
How many giraffes live
In the wild, these animals live an average of 25 years, the holder of the record at the moment of the age is 28-year-old giraffe Samson from the Moscow zoo. In captivity, they can live up to thirty years. An unsurpassed record holder can be called a meadow, a female from the Leningrad Zoo, which died several years ago, in 2017. Its age was 35 years old, which to this day is considered an unimaginable number.
How giraffes sleep?
Giraffes, like most other mammals, sleep at night. They lie down on the ground, pressed one of the back and both front legs, and stretch to the side, after which they put their heads on it. Such a pose allows you to quickly rise, sensing the danger. In this case, the neck is bent due to size, recalling the arch. The dreams of giraffes are intermittent, so they often get up in the middle of the night, and then lie down again. The deep phase of sleep is very small in duration and often does not exceed 30 minutes per night.
Where it lives
The natural habitat is considered to be the Savannans of Africa, outside of which this animal can only be found in zoos. Due to the low consumption of water, it can sometimes be in the editorial and on dry areas of the continent.
It is amazing to be called the fact that millions of years ago the ancestors of Giraffe could exist not only on a hot continent, but also in Europe, as well as in Asia.
The main food for giraffes is the foliage of trees and shrubs, but their favorite delicacy is acacia. The “contest” between these two passes throughout the evolution over millions of years, during which both enemy adapts to each other. The woods have spikes, hooks, spines and a high percentage of the content of toxic substances with a sharp taste, and the giraffe has a long tongue with many receptors, especially a thick saliva with a huge number of enzymes that can even digest cacti spikes, a liver that produces substances neutralizing poison and skill recognition of the most caustic leaves. The appearance of a tree attracts to itself, on which white flowers with a pleasant smell appear at the end of the drought, attracting all animals in the district and giants including.
Black acacia deserves special attention, which even learned to multiply with the help of these animals. During the evolution, sharp spikes appeared on it, but the flowers were still defenseless, which allows giraffes without any problems to eat them. When the highest animals in the world eat flowers at an altitude of four meters, they are covered from the head to the neck of pollen, which is subsequently spread to many other trees. Thus, acacia does not particularly lose its population and continues to exist, propagating with the help of its “enemy”.
The size of the giraffe does not allow most predators to cause him at least some harm. As a defense, the giant uses his front hooves, the blow of which is able to break the skull of any predator, regardless of its speed and strength. It is because of this frightening power on adults that they do not attack-they are simply afraid of them. But hyenas, leopards and lions can be aiming on young animals, which to kill is not some complexity, which is why only 25-50% lives until adulthood.
The most protected and strong place of the body of this animal can be safely called the neck, the muscles of which are able to withstand a huge load and a third of the weight of the entire giraffe. Therefore, predators try to attack thin legs, turning off which the animal will no longer be able to get up and give any rebuff, because it is the front hooves-the main means of protection against attacks.
But sometimes there are exceptions, for example, the case in the reserve in the north of Namibia, about which eyewitnesses spoke about: the lions jumped onto the giant and had a snack of his neck, which is why he fell strayly fell.
Much worse for giraffes, insects like fleas, which are always trying to settle on the body of the giant. A long tail helps the animal from them, and if it does not help, then birds come to the rescue: the starlings and other birds will clean the skin without any problems, but they can bring infection, so people are closely watching everything.
Features of character
Giraffes are not aggressive animals that, even in case of danger, prefer to run away than to repulse. Their ability to communicate is also amazing they can transmit information to each other at a frequency of less than 20 Hz, which human cannot catch and, in some cases, even dog hearing.
Males often move in search of females that are interested in them: they can overcome up to 20 km per day to find their love. The largest male often tries to take all the attention of the opposite sex to himself, not allowing smaller or young to approach them. If Alpha falls on the way anyone who wants to get a female, he takes a combat pose, stretching out his neck vertically and straining his front legs, putting them towards his enemy. If another male does not begin to retreat, then the duel begins in which the neck is the main weapon. Mammals strike their heads on the body of each other, intending to knock down. The loser tries to retreat, but the dominant begins to persecute for several meters, and then freezes in a victorious pose with a lifted tail up.
Giraffes are considered daytime residents. They eat food in the early morning, as well as in the afternoon. The hottest clock is in their state of half-dry somewhere in the shade of trees. At these moments, they have a chewing gum in their mouth, which they like to chew, their eyes are a little closed, but their ears are always on the alert. The main dream takes place at night, during it they fall into a specific pose, from which you can quickly stand on their feet.
Basically, these mammals are combined into groups, the number of which does not exceed 20-25 individuals. Their composition is unstable, they can at their request to join and come to animals. A special connection can be seen in kids and females: they try to protect more weak and not yet independent children, risking their own life. While staying on an open area, they try to gather in the crowds, and when they eat, they are dispersed.
Adults are actively looking for a female, but come across dominants who do not give a normal life to the animal who wants attention. It is because of strong representatives of the species inside groups that duels often occur.
In arid weather and in its midst, when the feed becomes less, groups are divided into small associations of 5 individuals, so that it is easier for them to feed themselves, and in the rainy season they are again united, since food becomes enough.
Giraffes can graze 12 hours a day, mainly during sunset or dawn, when the sun’s rays do not bake so much. You can often hear what they are called “flotes”-this name happened due to the method of eating. They literally pinch flowers, foliage, young shrubs and trees, eating at an altitude of two to seven meters in their tongue. They can bend over the grass only because of young shoots germining heavy rains during the season. Wherever the animal lives, it will still give preference to its beloved delicacy acacia. Giants only add other species of plants to their menu to replenish the water or vitamin reserve to their menu. In strong drought, they can eat cacti and fallen leaves.
On the lips they have long hairs, from which a signal enters the brain, indicating the degree of maturity of the leaves and the presence of some toxic substances in them. The language is strong, mobile, reaches 50 cm in length and can slip among the spikes. Pulling branches with the largest amount of food to its upper lip, the papillae on the edges of the lips allow you to hold the right plant in the mouth, which the giraffe in the future cuts off the lower jaw. The giant holds out more smooth branches deeper, where there is free space, and then cuts off all the leaves, without harming the bark.
A feature of all ruminants can be called rechewing any feed, so that food is absorbed several times faster. Giraffes have a unique ability: they can chew food even in motion, which means that time of grazing is significantly increased.
Compared to their height and weight, the males of this family are enough 50-60 kg of greens per day, and even less to the female-up to 45.
The food of giraffes has a huge amount of nutrients and more than 50%, it consists of water, so they almost do not have to additionally make up for the water balance, but they still sometimes like to drink pure water. In rare cases, they also have to eat the earth due to the lack of the necessary mineral salts in their body, and there are plenty of them in the soil.
For a long time, people believed that this type of mammals did not have a voice, but they were mistaken. Scientists have proven that they have a normal voice apparatus that allows you to make a huge range of sounds. In case of danger, they can cry out by releasing air with nostrils, in a fight or when excited, males make a cough or growl. Maybe even such that at the peak of orgasm they can roar. The cubs, frightened, begin to shout plaintively, without opening their mouths, thereby calling for more adult males or females who will be alienated to save their child.
Giraffes do not have a certain season of mating. Males wander from one group of females to another, sniffing them and evaluating readiness for reproduction. The most powerful and large males are needed for him, since they simply will not miss the rest to females, and their offspring is born weak, which is why he quickly dies. The period of pregnancy in animals lasts for a year and a half. Twins practically do not appear, so one cub is born over time.
The growth of the baby at birth is about two and a half meters and a weight of 70-80 kg. Due to the fact that the female continues to stand during childbirth, the cub drops from a two-meter height immediately after the appearance. A newborn a few minutes after the birth tries to rise on the legs, and for an hour later he tries his mother’s milk. Children of giraffes develop quickly, a week or two after birth run and jump no worse than adults. At the age of about a month, the baby tries to eat plant food, but milk feeding continues until the giraffe is a year. The female is trying with all his might to protect her cub from predators, but about half of all giraffes born during the year become food for lions or hyenas.
Immediately after the birth of animals, there are no horns on the head, but the place of their appearance is indicated by bunches of black hair, under which the cartilaginous process is already beginning to form. In the future, it becomes more solid, ossifies and ultimately turns into small horns, growing with age more and more. The wool remains on them for several years, but then it is erased and completely disappears.
A rather frequent phenomenon can be called the formation of “kindergarten”. Females and even males collect all the kids in the district and do not allow anyone to come to them even close, protecting from any potential threat.
The giraffes are separated from the family after 16-18 months, becoming more or less independent and joining the groups of the rest of the young.
Population and status of the species
Giraffes are quite deservedly considered the personification of calm and the hallmark of Africa, they get along well with people and are quite peaceful. Even in ancient times, the natives were hardly hunting for these giants of the world fauna, so they were never the main prey. But having flooded this animal, they tried to use each part of it to the maximum. The meat was eaten, the tendons served as excellent strings and a bowstring for bows, skins were shields or material for clothes, and hair with brushes for creativity, the tail could serve as jewelry for the dwelling or as bracelets.
There were a lot of giraffes before, they inhabited almost all Africa continents before the advent of colonialists. These people brought devastation with them to many places and exterminated many animals, and the highest mammals were no exception. They were killed for the sake of skins and leather, which was sold or allowed into the consumption of belts, weaved beachs from it, strengthened the carts and many other, according to people, objects.
Later, hunting turned into full poaching and barbarism, settlers from Europe began to brutally kill animals not even with the aim of gaining benefit, but simply for their own pleasure. They felt a thirst for blood and the adrenaline hit their heads, because they can kill giants, whom even lions were afraid of. They were killed in dozens and hundreds, driving in safari, and the tails were cut off as a trophy, leaving the rest of the body rot.
The result of such atrocities by people was a reduction in the giraffe population by several times. Now they practically do not hunt for them, because even wild ranges are under strict protection of the state, but the number continues to decrease every year because of another problem-cutting down forests and the destruction of habitat familiar for these animals.
At the moment, there are only two kinds in the giraffe family: giants themselves and modern small artsical officers called Okapi or Okapi Johnston. In their physique, they do not stand out in size, so they look more like horses with the head of the giraffe and strips on their feet, like a zebra. These relatives live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, outside of which they do not meet. The number is unknown, but according to approximate calculations it varies from 30-35 to 50 thousand. In zoos around the world there are no more than two hundred.
Why are animals so called
If you at least once wondered why mammals with a giant neck are called “giraffes”, then the answer is quite simple. In many languages, the name is built in comparison with a camel, for example, translating from Latin, it means a “camel-pinter”. The name came from the French language to the Russian language this is a borrowed word GIRAFFE. The French called the animal after meeting with Egypt, Zarafa, who later lived in the Paris Zoo for eighteen years. Her nickname was translated “elegant” or “fairytale”. In 2013, a cartoon with the name “Giraffe” appeared in France, which took as a basis this story.
Interesting facts about the highest ground animals on Earth:
- Giraffes do not yawn. No scientist in the world has still managed to see Giraffe behind this action, although observation of them is conducted everywhere and 24 hours a day.
- The mammal heart drives more than fifty liters of blood in a minute, which is surprising, because they even eat in volume in the whole day. The heart muscle itself weighs up to 12 kg, and the pressure inside it can exceed the human three times.
- One giraffe somewhere in the zoo was happy to eat raw bow, after which enthusiasts tried to crank the same with several individuals, and absolutely every of them enjoyed this product.
- We know that the neck of this animal is a third of its height, the tongue is half a meter and the height itself is about six, or maybe even more. But the tail length is also amazing, which varies on average from two to three meters.
- It is strange that it can be called the fact that for drinking water from a reservoir or a snack of grass, the mammal’s neck length is still not enough, so they kneel down and only then they can begin to replenish water supplies.
- Unlike representatives of young age, on which leopards and hyena hunt, only the king of all animals, which is famous for his fearlessness, risks on adults.
- Although they eat for twelve hours, in fact, 6-7 kg of food is enough for a normal life. They just don’t know what to take themselves, so they eat almost all their free time.