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Giraffe - The World's Tallest Land Animal

Updated on August 5, 2017

Known by its scientific name as Giraffa Camelopardalis, giraffe is the tallest mammal in the world. In earlier centuries, people used to think a giraffe is a combination of a camel and leopard. They used to believe a giraffe is in actuality a camel covered by a leopards hide due to its spots, the reason for its scientific name, Camelopardalis. However, now we know it is not in actuality a cross between a camel and a leopard.

The tallest animal in the world, an adult giraffe’s height ranges from 14 to 19ft. The males are taller than the females. Adult males’ height ranges from 15-19 feet whereas for females who are shorter their height ranges from 13-16 feet.

Its leg alone is 6ft which is quite tall than the majority of the world’s human population. It is quite peculiar in its own right as it has a long neck, longs legs and spots all over its body resembling those of a leopard.



A giraffe can run as fast as 56 kilometers an hour over short distances in long strides while in long distances it can run up to 16 kilometers an hour.

When a giraffe walks, it walks with the first two legs on one side followed by two legs on the other side. For instance, when it starts to walk and continues on walking it starts with the right fore and hind leg followed by the left fore and hind leg. Even so, when it is running it runs like the rest of the animals, the first front legs followed by the behind legs.

While its neck is tall, taller than every other living thing on earth, it is short compared to its legs when it comes to drinking water from the ground surface. It has to stretch its fore legs a part in order to have a drink which is quite uncomfortable. In order to drink water from the ground it has to first of all look at its surrounding. If it notices there is no predator nearby it can have peace of mind it is not in danger.


Nevertheless, the giraffe can go for a few days without drinking water. This attributed to their drinking large quantities of water and as some of the water comes from the plants.

The long legs have its merits and demerits. One merit is it has a good view of the surrounding not only nearby but also far away. This means it can be able to notice an impending danger by taking in if there is a predator lying in wait to ambush it. The demerit is the awkwardness of stretching its front legs a part or kneel on its fore legs in order to drink water from the ground.

Not to be taken for granted, its legs are strong. It is not defenseless at all although it does always run away when it notices a predator. It might take up to four lions to defeat a giraffe by bringing it down. A giraffe’s kick can incapacitate a lion or possibly kill a lion.

Growing Up Giraffe- Baby Giraffe Fall Animal Planet Animal Planet

Another peculiar fact concerning giraffe is its tail. Its tail is also the longest than any other animal on the face of the earth. The tail can be as long as 8 feet.

A giraffe sleeps two hours or less a day. It either sleeps while standing up or when lying on the ground. If it has to lie on ground it folds its feet underneath its body, and only does so when it’s taking a nap which lasts less than ten minutes. Of course, it does know the vulnerability it exposes itself by lying on the ground. They normally lie on the ground during the night in which in most cases their heads are held high up.

An adult giraffe weighs between 794 and 1,270 kilograms. There are records of giraffes which have weighed as much as 1,900 kilograms. Females weigh half the weight of males. Due its big body it spends a lot of its time eating. An adult giraffe consumes about 45 kilograms of leaves. As regarding to weight, male giraffes are heavier than females. A giraffe menu includes leaves, flowers, pods and fruits. The acacia are the most important food delicacy. In addition, a giraffe feeds on mimosa and deciduous trees and bushes.

A giraffe’s body is short. The only reason which makes this animal to be the tallest animal is due to its long neck and legs. The front legs are not at the same height with the hind legs. The front legs of a giraffe are ten percent longer compared to the hind legs. This is the reason why giraffe’s body slopes from the head to the tail.


A female giraffe’s gestation period is fifteen months. It gives birth while standing up. The young one is welcomed to the world by feeling the hardness of the ground. The mother gives birth while standing which means the calf faces the ground from a height of more than five feet. The calf’s height is 6 feet and weighs 70kg at the time of birth and has to learn to stand on its own with no support. Within an hour or so it will have learned to walk on its own and in less than three days it has known how to run. The calf feds on its mother’s milk for about 10 months although after three months it is able to chew leaves from bushes and shrubs.

The female giraffe, if it is possible, usually returns to the place where it was born in order to give birth. Quite something I should admit. A female giraffe can become pregnant at the age of five.


Despite the fact giraffes are social animals unlike other animals such as lions they’re non-territorial. They travel together in large herds which are not arranged in any particular way such as each herd should consist of a leader. In addition, the herd may consist of any sex and age doesn’t matter. Females tend to associate each other in groups with a few young males in their company. In the case of the males, they associate with other makes while the older males prefer their own company. A giraffe can decide to leave a group and join another group any time it chooses with no specific reason as to why it left that group. As such, there are no preferences for one’s sex or age. The young ones stay in the company of the females whereby they are congregated in one group, sort of a nursery, whereby each female takes a shift to care of thecalves.

The lifespan of a giraffe in the wild is 25 years.


Giraffe’s are regarded as endangered as their habitats are destroyed and they are hunted for various uses. As such, governments are trying hard to ensure they don’t disappear from the face of the world. They are found in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Savannah or the African plains including South of Sahara desert.


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    • Mr. Smith profile image

      Mr. Smith 

      8 years ago from California

      It's always good to learn some interesting giraffe facts.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I love giraffes. Thanks for the info.


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