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Giraffe

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Contents: Statistics Description History
Behaviour Sub-Species    

Giraffe PairStatistics

Latin Name: Giraffa camelopardalis spp.
Conservation Status: Lower Risk
Average Height: Male - 17', Female - 16'
Average Weight: Male - 900 kg, Female - 850 kg
Distribution: Africa

Description

The Giraffe is the tallest mammal on the face of the earth. Their height and spotted appearance gives them a very distinguishable look.

The Giraffe, a distant relative of deer and cattle, lives solely on the plains of Africa. They have elongated front legs, and very long necks. Their necks make it easier to eat the leaves off the tops of trees, but also hinders them when drinking. The female Giraffe is smaller than the male, in both height and relative size. The Giraffe is the tallest living species in the class of mammals.

History

The scientific name given to the Giraffe, camelopardalis, comes from the early description of the animal as looking like a combination of a camel and a leopard. In the 1300s, the Giraffe was called camelopard, and remained known as this until the 1800s.

Behaviour

Necking

Necking is a common behaviour in which male giraffes engage. Necking has been seen in both combat and sexual situations. Two male giraffes will swing their heads and necks at another male, colliding with the other giraffe. The longer the neck, and heavier the head, the more likely the giraffe is to win the battle. Death has been seen after such battles, but more often the losing giraffe is only injured. In many cases, the winning giraffe gets his choice of females.

Homosexual courtship between two males is actually quite common in giraffes. Necking can be observed first, with both male giraffes rubbing their necks together. This will obviously lead to both mounting and climax. Homosexual relationships occur with about 50% of all male giraffes, while only 1% of female giraffes engage in same sex relations.

Sub-Species

1. G.c. angolensis - Angolan Giraffe
2. G.c. antiquorum - Kordofan Giraffe
3. G.c. camelopardalis - Nubian Giraffe
4. G.c. giraffa - South African Giraffe
5. G.c. peralta - Nigerian Giraffe
6. G.c. reticulata - Somali (Reticulated) Giraffe
7. G.c. rothschildi - Rothschild's Giraffe
8. G.c. tippelskirchi - Kilimanjaro Giraffe
9. G.c. thornicrofti - Thornicroft (Rhodesian) Giraffe
 

         
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