Creature Feature – Reticulated Giraffe

Photographed at Minnesota Zoo
Fujifilm FinePix S5100
August 2, 2006

View As NFT: Teia | Objkt

Common Name: Reticulated Giraffe
Latin Name: Giraffa reticulata
Location: Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya
Conservation Status: Endangered

The giraffe is the world’s tallest animal. Adult males stand up to 18 feet, weighing as much as 4200 pounds, and females are around 16 feet and 2500 pounds. A giraffe’s leg alone is taller than many humans at about 6 feet long. Giraffes use their height to browse high in treetops where few other animals can reach. Their prehensile tongue, which can be more than 18 inches long, helps them pluck the leaves and buds from the branches. A favorite food item is the leaves of the acacia tree. The leaves are full of water, enabling giraffes to go a long time without drinking.

While the IUCN Red List recognizes one species and nine subspecies, recent DNA findings show four distinct species of giraffe along with several subspecies. In the late 19th and 20th centuries herds of 20-30 animals were recorded, but now with shrinking habitats the average herd size contains fewer than 6 individuals. The reticulated giraffe has seen a population decline of over 50% during the last three and a half decades. However, in recent years their numbers across northern Kenya appear to be increasing with improved conservation measures.

Interesting Facts:
⦁ A giraffe’s heart weighs almost 25 pounds and can pump 16 gallons of blood per minute
⦁ Like humans, giraffes have seven vertebrae in their necks. The giraffes are just a whole lot bigger
⦁ No two individuals have the exact same pattern of spots on their coat
⦁ Okapi are the closest living relative to the giraffe
⦁ Giraffes can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances
⦁ A giraffe is 6 feet tall at birth

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