Even if you’ve never had the opportunity to see Giraffes in the wild, chances are you’ve heard of them. You may have seen them on TV or at the zoo, but did you know that Giraffes are the tallest land animals in the world, standing at an average height of 14 feet? (4.3 meters). These majestic animals are classified into nine different subspecies based on the patterns and markings on their fur with only four of these nine subspecies have been designated as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
With that being said, here are some fascinating facts about these tallest land animals in the world.
1. Giraffes Appearance.
Giraffes are one of the world’s most recognizable animals, with long necks that can reach nearly 18 feet in length. What makes these animals even more fascinating is the fact that no two giraffes have the same pattern, much like human fingerprints. These animals are also endowed with the same number of bones in their necks as humans do in their entire spine! The only other animal with such anatomy is the giraffe-related okapi. Their long neck is referred to as coulee and provides them with extra height and visibility so that they can feed on tall grasses as well as spot their predators and other dangers lurking nearby. They also have horns that are called ossicones which come out when they reach puberty
2. Giraffes Behavior.
Giraffes, like all mammals, give birth after a 14-month gestation period. Their calves are able to nurse and run within minutes of birth and they will typically spend up to two years of their lives with their mothers before leaving the herd to form their own herds with other males or females of the same age group. Male giraffes have to fight each other for dominance and breeding rights with the winning male often claiming over 20 female mates during his lifetime. Additionally, male giraffes have 15 years old lifespan while females can live up to 25 years old in the wild.
3. Giraffes Diet.
Giraffes are herbivores, which means they eat only plants, with leaves, fruits, flowers, and twigs being their primary source of nutrients. In the wild, these animals consume over 100 different types of plants and they can eat for 14 hours per day. They also have long protrusions on their tongue called papillae that can reach lengths of up to 10 inches. These long protrusions aid them in removing leaves from branches high in the tree canopy. More importantly, their prehensile lips shield their tongue or throat as they feed on thorn leaves,
4. Giraffes Conservation Status.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List currently classifies giraffes as ‘Vulnerable.’ There are approximately 68,000 wild giraffes left. However, the number of giraffes has decreased dramatically over the last three decades, by up to 40%. Some call this “silent extinction” because the decline has been so gradual that it has almost gone unnoticed. The four major threats to giraffe populations are habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, civil unrest, war, climate change, and extreme weather events.
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