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Rothschild Giraffe

Updated on February 23, 2016

Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi

Rothschild Giraffe Description

 With an overall height for males of 20 feet the Rothschild Giraffe is known as the tallest land animal ever. That is quite a record to hold and one that the giraffe does with grace and style. Many people are in love with these great animals, and due to their height it is hard to believe that the males can also weigh about 2,800 pounds. The females are a few feet and several hundred pounds smaller than the males.

They have lovely coats with a variety of designs on them. They have dark patches called spots on the parts of their body down to the knees. They also have prominent designs of white that go around the dark colors of brown and orange. Each one has their own pattern so the next time you go so the zoo compare what you seen.

Below the knee is mostly white on these giraffes. They do have some speckling of spots but they are very small and often spread out. Some of them barely have any coloring in this area at all.

Rothschild Giraffe Anatomy

 Many people can automatically tell they are looking at a Rothschild Giraffe due to the five horns on their head. They are the only species that has more than two. Researchers aren’t sure why they have more as these additional ones don’t seem to offer any real advantages for them. The neck is amazing and weighs hundreds of pounds – all that with the same seven vertebras that we humans have for our own neck!

You will find that the body of these giraffes is designed to give them many benefits. First, they are fast moving animals when they need to be. They are also very graceful in their movements. They don’t need to sleep for more than 30 minutes per day to keep their bodies rested. While they can lie down, they spend most of their time standing up.

The senses are amazing for these giraffes too. They rely upon their sense of hearing, smelling, and seeing to be able to offer them plenty of advantages out there. They also warn other animals of impending danger due to the distance they can see combined with the level of vision that they have.

Rothschild Giraffe Evolution

 Have the Rothschild Giraffes always had necks that long? Did they always have thick lips and tongues to consume foods other animals couldn’t? Perhaps both of those are key elements of evolution that enable them to survive through millions of years. There is strong evidence to indicate these animals are closely related to both cows and deer.

We still need to find plenty more evidence though to really understand what has happened in the past with these animals. Understanding all of it will occur in time but for now there is still plenty of mystery to talk about.

Rothschild Giraffe Behavior

 The males and the females of these giraffes do form herds but they stay separated into two smaller groups. They do stay close to each other due to the fact that mating can be something they do at any time in the year. The females tend to form strong bonds with each other. The males though spend most of their time fighting to prove who is stronger and who will get to mate.

These giraffes don’t seem to mind other herds of giraffes around them as long as there is enough food for all of them. They also seem to be fine around lots of other types of animals when in the wild. Giraffes really aren’t a threat until they are kicking to defend themselves.

Rothschild Giraffe Habitat and Distribution

You may have heard these giraffes called the Baringo Giraffes before. This is due to the fact that so many of them live around the area of Lake Baringo. This is one of two wildlife areas in Kenya. The other is in Uganda around the Eastern portion of it. These giraffes are highly adaptable to the dessert living or to being in dense forest areas. They also enjoy the open plains.

Rothschild Giraffe Diet and Feeding Habits

 When it comes to eating these giraffes certainly have a very healthy appetite. They will continue to move around in their home territory consuming food. When they are eating leaves from trees the females are at the bottom and the males at the top. They will also eat seasonal fruits, berries, shrubs, and grass or bark when they need to.

With a tongue that can be up to 18 inches long, they are able to use it to grasp the food they would like to place in their mouths. They can spend 2/3 of their day or more eating at a very slow but consistent pace. Finding adequate amounts of food can be hard though when their natural habitat continues to get smaller and smaller.

Rothschild Giraffe Reproduction

 The Rothschild Giraffe can reproduce at around 5 years of age. Most of the females will conceive about that time. The males have to wait until they are old enough and strong enough to win necking contests with others males before they can mate. This can be many years from when they are actually mature enough for it to take place.

Once the female has conceived she will carry her young in her body for a year plus a couple of months. These amazing new creatures can be up to 200 pounds when they are born and taller than most adult men at about 6 feet. They will drink milk from the bodies of the mothers for the first year of life.

A serious concern that many experts have is that the Rothschild Giraffes aren’t hesitant to mate outside of their species. Breeding plans have been implemented in captivity to reduce the hybrids. The goal is to help preserve the genetic pool of this species. In the wild though it will continue to happen. The concern here is that there won’t be enough of these giraffes mating within the species to get their numbers up.

Rothschild Giraffe Predators

 There are quite a few meat eaters in the wild that think a young Rothschild Giraffe is a great meal. They will end up killing over half of all the young before they are fully mature. The adults seem to be very safe because the predators can’t take a chance of being injured or killed by their powerful kicking.

Lions and hyenas are the biggest predator threats. They are very good at waiting and watching these young giraffes. When the mothers are busy eating and the young are curious enough to move away they will go in for the kill. Even if a mother does want to help at that point it is already too late and she won’t do anything but walk away.

Of course there is the human element as well and that is a problem due to the low number of these giraffes remaining. Hunters want to be able to say they did indeed kill one before they are all gone. Villagers don’t care that they are depleting those left, they are more concerned about taking care of the immediate needs of their family for food. Even with protective measures in place and killing them illegal, it continues in Kenya all the time. There simply isn’t enough in place to enforce such laws as they need to be.


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  • profile image

    jo 5 years ago


  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    They are becautiful and thank you for your hub giving information and pictures. I really enjoyed it.