The Tall Blonde

Long legs and long necks give the giraffe a spectacular height advantage over every living land animal.
The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is the world's tallest land dwelling animal. They have long legs, long necks and even a long tongue. Each giraffe has a unique spotted pattern. They can be found in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.

Males can be 4.8-5.5 m (16-18 ft) tall and can weigh up to 1,360 kg. (3,000 lbs) Giraffes may eat up to 34 kg (75 lbs) of food per day and can live for weeks without drinking water. They spend most of their day eating and their favorite leaves are from the acacia tree. Other than humans, they are hunted only by lions and crocodiles. They can run at up to 48 kph (30 mph) per hour. Each giraffe has a unique hide pattern, which provides camouflage to blend them into their surroundings.

The giraffe is truly a unique creature. Its neck is almost 2m long (6 ft) but contain the same number of cervical vertebrae as a human neck! Baby giraffes are as tall as humans and are just under 2 m (6 ft) when born. They can grow an inch a day and double their height in a year.

As the world's tallest animal, it uses its swift pace and extraordinary vision to protect itself. When attacked a giraffe uses its strong powerful hooves to kick its predator. Its lethal kick has been known to kill a lion!

Your chance of seeing one in the wild
In the open savannas of the Sahara, pretty high. Giraffes were previously killed just for their tails, which were used as fly swats, good luck charms and threads for sewing. Now, the main threats to the giraffe are habitat loss and poaching for meat and hides.
Cape or Southern Giraffe (<i>Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa</i>). Adult males can be 18 ... / ©: WWF / Martin HARVEY
Cape or Southern Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa). Adult males can be 18 feet or 5.4 meters in height, South Africa.
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

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