Giraffe­: Their Distribution, Species, Physical features and other attributes. all the facts you need to know.

GIRRAFE THE WORLD’S TALLEST LAND MAMMAL.

The giraffe is a large mammal belonging to the family Giraffidae and is native to Africa. It is the world’s tallest land mammal.

Distribution:

The giraffe is spread across the central and southern countries of Africa. It is widespread in countries where there are large plains of dry grasses. Africa has very little rainfall, so there are very few countries with forests and most of the countries have dry grasslands called Savannah.

In these dry grasslands, where wild buffaloes, tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and zebras are found, the giraffe is also seen standing like a pole.  The giraffe is found in countries like Kenya, Zambia, Chad, Sudan, Somalia and South Africa.

Species of Giraffe:

Giraffe belongs to the Giraffidae family. There are two animals in this family; Giraffe and Okapi.  The giraffes have been divided into 9 sub-species. But due to the marked variation in their physical characteristics across different regions, some experts believe that the number of sub-species should be 8 or 6 instead of 9.     

The largest species of giraffe is the Masai giraffe, which has been measured up to 20 feet tall.

Physical features:

1. The giraffe has a very strange body.   Children also love to draw giraffes and they have been the main characters in cartoons.  Its body is a very complex State Of The Art object.

2. It is the land animal with the strongest heart. It has a thicker muscle on the left ventricle of the heart that enables the heart to work against the force of gravity.

In terms of size, a giraffe’s heart is about two feet long and weighs 12 kilograms.  The heart is a very strong pumping organ, with thousands of blood vessels attached to it, and works effectively against the force ofgravity.

3. A giraffe’s neck is extremely long and is one-third of its body. It helps to eat leaves from tall branches of the tree. The neck is used to fight with rival males for mates, or territory. Most of the time they are involved in wrestling bouts known as “necking”.

4. It often happens that when we stand up quickly, we feel dizzy at once and then recover after a while.  This happens because of our sudden rise, the head rose, but the full blood did not reach the head yet, the blood pressure got disturbed and we feel dizziness.  But why doesn’t a giraffe’s six-foot neck, which it moves up and down all day long doesn’t make it dizzy?  Nature has given it a network of small complex vessels in its neck, called intracranial carotid rete mirabile.

Their purpose is to keep the head cool and to control the rapid or slow flow of blood.  When the giraffe lowers its neck, instead of rushing down, the blood flows through this complex network of vessels at a balanced speed to reach the head.

4. We have 7 vertebrae in our neck and you will be surprised to know that giraffe also has 7 vertebrae in its neck.  The only difference is that the vertebrae of our neck are half an inch long while a giraffe’s neck its size is about 10 inches.

5. The original colour of a giraffe is white.  Brown or reddish markings are present all over the body, except for the lower legs. These markings are distinct to each giraffe, just like human fingerprints. The markings on its skin help it to camouflage and giraffe uses these markings to hide from predators.9

But the second most important purpose is that underneath these spots is a complex system of tiny blood vessels that drain excess heat from the giraffe’s body and keep it cool.  Some giraffes are unable to develop these spots due to the absence of colour-producing pigments and appear completely white, but this is a rare case.

6. A giraffe has two small horns on its head, called ossicones, which are slightly different from the horns of goats and are covered with giraffe skin. These ossicones help in fighting.

7. They have excellent vision and can see distant objects very easily.

9. Giraffes have prehensile lips which are used to grasp leaves and push them into their mouth.

10. They have 20 to 24 inches long, a black-blue tongue which is used to grasp leaves.

Giraffes are highly social animals:

Giraffes live in two groups, one is a group of males and the other is a group of females and calves.  Males and females approach each other during mating season.

 Giraffe loves to eat Acacia leaves:

Giraffes are mostly browsers and they feed on leaves, shrubs and tree bark. But their favourite tree is Acacia and they love to eat its leaves and consume about 34 kilograms of leaves per day.

Conservation status:

According to the studies, there are about 97,000 giraffes left in Africa.  They are killed for meat, hide, and tail.  Giraffe tails are highly prized as they are used in good-luck bracelets in African cultures. The giraffe’s main predators are lions, hyenas and wild dogs.

Origin of the word ”giraffe”

There was a time when Giraffe was written as Ziraph which was taken from the Arabic language. In Arabic “Ziraph” means swift. 

In the 16th century, the Italian word girrafa continued to be used. Later, it was influenced by the French word giraffe and finally named Giraffe in English.

 Due to its camel-like body and spots like a leopard, the ancient Greeks named it camelopard.

Life span:

The gestation period is fifteen months while the average life is 20 to 25 years..

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