Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:09 am

Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis Kameelperd

Average life span in the wild: 25 years
Size: 4 to 6 metres
Weight: 1,600 kg on average (Male), 830 kg on average (Female)
Daily sleep: 4.6 h (In captivity)
Gestation period: 400 – 460 d

Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, thanks to their towering legs and long necks. A giraffe's legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet (1.8 meters). These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 56 kilometers an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 16 kilometers an hour over longer distances.

Typically, these fascinating animals roam the open grasslands of Africa in small groups of about half a dozen.

Giraffes use their height to good advantage and browse on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach (acacias are a favorite). Even the giraffe's tongue is long! The 21-inch (53-centimeter) tongue helps them pluck tasty morsels from branches. Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. A giraffe eats hundreds of pounds of leaves each week and must travel miles to find enough food.

The giraffe's height also helps it to keep a sharp lookout for predators across the wide expanse of the African savanna.

The giraffe's stature can be a disadvantage as well—it is difficult and dangerous for a giraffe to drink at a water hole. To do so they must spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position that makes them vulnerable to predators like Africa's big cats. Giraffes only need to drink once every several days; they get most of their water from the luscious plants they eat.

Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young endure a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 1.5 meters to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth.

Giraffes have beautiful spotted coats. While no two individuals have exactly the same pattern, giraffes from the same area appear similar.


Source: ... s/giraffe/

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:16 am

The name "giraffe" has its earliest known origins in the Arabic word zarafa, perhaps from some African language. The name is translated as "fast-walker". There were several Middle English spellings such as jarraf, ziraph, and gerfauntz. The word possibly was derived from the animal's Somali name geri. The Italian form giraffa arose in the 1590s. The modern English form developed around 1600 from the French girafe. The species name camelopardalis is from Latin.

Kameelperd is also the name for the species in Afrikaans. Other African names for the giraffe include ekorii (Ateso), kanyiet (Elgon), nduida (Gikuyu), tiga (Kalenjin and Luo), ndwiya (Kamba), nudululu (Kihehe), ntegha (Kinyaturu), ondere (Lugbara), etiika (Luhya), kuri (Ma'di), oloodo-kirragata or olchangito-oodo (Maasai), lenywa (Meru), hori (Pare), lment (Samburu) and twiga (Swahili and others) in the east; and tutwa (Lozi), nthutlwa (Shangaan), indlulamitsi (Siswati), thutlwa (Sotho), thuda (Venda) and ndlulamithi (Zulu) in the south.

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:35 am

Up to nine subspecies of giraffe are recognized (with population estimates as of 2010):

The Nubian giraffe, G. c. camelopardalis: found in eastern South Sudan and south-western Ethiopia. Fewer than 250 are thought to remain in the wild, although this number is uncertain. It is rare in captivity, although a group is kept at Al Ain Zoo in the United Arab Emirates. In 2003, this group numbered 14.

The Reticulated giraffe, G. c. reticulata: also known as the Somali giraffe, is native to north-eastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and Somalia. An estimated no more than 5,000 remain in the wild, and based on International Species Information System records, more than 450 are kept in zoos.

The Angolan giraffe, G. c. angolensis: also know as the Namibian giraffe, can be found in northern Namibia, south-western Zambia, Botswana, and western Zimbabwe. A 2009 genetic study on this subspecies suggests the northern Namib Desert and Etosha National Park populations form a separate subspecies. No more than 20,000 are estimated to remain in the wild, and about 20 are kept in zoos.

The Kordofan giraffe, G. c. antiquorum: a distribution which includes southern Chad, the Central African Republic, northern Cameroon, and north-eastern DR Congo. No more than 3,000 are believed to remain in the wild. Considerable confusion has existed over the status of this subspecies and G. c. peralta in zoos. In 2007, all alleged G. c. peralta in European zoos were shown to be, in fact, G. c. antiquorum. With this correction, about 65 are kept in zoos.

The Masai giraffe, G. c. tippelskirchi: also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe, can be found in central and southern Kenya and in Tanzania. No more than 40,000 are thought to remain in the wild, and about 100 are kept in zoos.

The Rothschild's giraffe, G. c. rothschildi: named for Walter Rothschild, is also called the Baringo or Ugandan giraffe. Its range includes parts of Uganda and Kenya. Its presence in South Sudan is uncertain. Fewer than 700 are believed to remain in the wild, and more than 450 are kept in zoos.

The South African giraffe, G. c. giraffa: found in northern South Africa, southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, and south-western Mozambique. Less than 12,000 are estimated to remain in the wild, and around 45 are kept in zoos.

The Rhodesian giraffe, G. c. thornicrofti: also called the Thornicroft giraffe after Harry Scott Thornicroft, is restricted to the Luangwa Valley in eastern Zambia. No more than 1,500 remain in the wild, with none kept in zoos.

The West African giraffe, G. c. peralta: also known as the Niger or Nigerian giraffe, is endemic to south-western Niger. Fewer than 220 individuals remain in the wild. Giraffes in Cameroon were formerly believed to belong to this subspecies, but are actually G. c. antiquorum.


Giraffe subspecies are distinguished by their coat patterns. The reticulated and Masai giraffes represent two extremes of giraffe patch shapes. The former has neatly shaped patches, while the latter has jagged ones. The widths of the lines separating the patches also differ. The West African giraffe has thick lines, while the Nubian and reticulated giraffes have thin ones. The former also has a lighter pelage than other subspecies.

A 2007 study on the genetics of six subspecies—the West African, Rothschild's, reticulated, Masai, Angolan, and South African giraffe—suggests they may, in fact, be separate species. The study deduced that giraffes from these populations are reproductively isolated and rarely interbreed, though no natural obstacles block their mutual access. This includes adjacent populations of Rothschild's, reticulated, and Masai giraffes. The Masai giraffe may also consist of a few species separated by the Rift Valley. Reticulated and Masai giraffes have the highest mtDNA diversity, which is consistent with the fact that giraffes originated in eastern Africa. Populations further north evolved from the former, while those to the south evolved from the latter. Giraffes appear to select mates of the same coat type, which are imprinted on them as calves. The implications of these findings for the conservation of giraffes were summarised by David Brown, lead author of the study, who told BBC News: "Lumping all giraffes into one species obscures the reality that some kinds of giraffe are on the brink. Some of these populations number only a few hundred individuals and need immediate protection."

Sources: ... bsite.html

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:30 am

Giraffes and culture

Humans have interacted with giraffes for millennia. The San people of southern Africa have medicine dances named after some animals; the giraffe dance is performed to treat head ailments. How the giraffe got its height has been the subject of various African folktales, including one from eastern Africa which explains that the giraffe grew tall from eating too many magic herbs.Giraffes were depicted in art throughout the African continent, including that of the Kiffians, Egyptians and Meroë Nubians. The Kiffians were responsible for a life-size rock engraving of two giraffes that has been called the "world's largest rock art petroglyph". The Egyptians gave the giraffe its own hieroglyph, named 'sr' in Old Egyptian and 'mmy' in later periods. They also kept giraffes as pets and shipped them around the Mediterranean.

World's largest Rock Art Petroglyph in Dabous, Niger

The giraffe was also known to the Greeks and Romans, who believed that it was an unnatural hybrid of a camel and a leopard and called it camelopardalis. The giraffe was among the many animals collected and displayed by the Romans. The first one in Rome was brought in by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and exhibited to the public. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the housing of giraffes in Europe declined. During the Middle Ages, giraffes were only known to Europeans through contact with the Arabs, who revered the giraffe for its peculiar appearance.

In 1414, a giraffe was shipped from Malindi to Bengal. It was then taken to China by explorer Zheng He and placed in a Ming Dynasty zoo. The animal was a source of fascination for the Chinese people, who associated it with the mythical Qilin.


The Medici giraffe was a giraffe presented to Lorenzo de' Medici in 1486. It caused a great stir on its arrival in Florence. Another famous giraffe was brought from Egypt to Paris in the early 19th century as a gift from Muhammad Ali of Egypt to Charles X of France. A sensation, the giraffe was the subject of numerous memorabilia or "giraffanalia".


Giraffes continue to have a presence in modern culture. Salvador Dalí depicted them with conflagrated manes in some of his surrealist paintings. Dali considered the giraffe to be a symbol of masculinity, and a flaming giraffe was meant to be a "masculine cosmic apocalyptic monster".


Several children's books feature the giraffe, including David A. Ufer's The Giraffe Who Was Afraid of Heights, Giles Andreae's Giraffes Can't Dance and Roald Dahl's The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. Giraffes have appeared in animated films, as minor characters in Disney's The Lion King and Dumbo, and in more prominent roles in The Wild and in the Madagascar films. Sophie the Giraffe has been a popular teether since 1961. Another famous fictional giraffe is the Toys "R" Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe. The giraffe is also the national animal of Tanzania.

The giraffe has also been used for some scientific experiments and discoveries. Scientists have looked at the properties of giraffe skin when developing suits for astronauts and fighter pilots because the people in these professions are in danger of passing out if blood rushes to their legs. Computer scientists have modeled the coat patterns of several subspecies using reaction–diffusion mechanisms.[69]

The constellation of Camelopardalis, introduced in the seventeenth century, depicts a giraffe. The Tswana people of Botswana saw the constellation Crux as two giraffes – Acrux and Mimosa forming a male, and Gacrux and Delta Crucis forming the female.

Sources: ... medici.htm

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:25 pm

at last an animal O/\

and what a super beautiful start ^Q^
lot of interesting informations \O

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:03 pm

What a lovely choice, Flutts! O0

Very interesting info you provided - really enjoyed reading through it. ^Q^
But even with the collage of the different patterns, I'd be at a loss for ID if it wasn't for the area the seen giraffe roams. 0*\

Now, let's find those photos. :-0

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:22 pm

Looking at older photos, I think that I made at least a bit of a progress regarding quality =O:

Girivana, 07/10/2009

There were actually three giraffes that were drinking at the waterhole. But ellies arrived, took over and stayed for quite some time.
The giraffes were not amused...

Jones se Dam, 08/10/2009

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:29 pm

We saw this giraffe at Mankwe Dam, Pilanesberg on 3 July 2012.

It seemed to be sniffing the air continuously.





Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:38 pm

Dr Whyte's reply:

I think that the giraffe was chewing on a small bone that she had picked up. This behaviour has been quite frequently observed (I have seen it myself a few times). The configuration of the mouth is exactly as I remember it from watching them do this. Chewing of bones by herbivorous animals is known as osteophagia. See . With flehmen, the top lip is folded upwards in a characteristic fashion, which is not seen in these photos.

Re: Giraffe - Animal of the Month: April 2014

Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:40 pm

(Following up on Dr. Whyte's reference to the "flehmen response".... )

Flehmen Response

Male giraffes determine female fertility by "tasting" the female's urine in order to detect estrus, in a process known as the "Flehmen Response".


The flehmen response is a particular type of curling of the upper lip in ungulates, felids, and many other mammals, which facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the Jacobson's Organ.


This organ is located on the roof of the mouth and is a chemoreceptor organ which plays a role in the perception of pheromones. It is particularly well developed in animals such as cats and horses.