August 27, 2013

Cool Giraffe Animal Facts for Kids

The giraffe is an animal that belongs to the Giraffidae family. It's a member of the Artiodactyla order, class Mammalia. The giraffe's scientific name is Giraffa camelopardalis. Of all living mammals on earth, the giraffe is considered to be the tallest. This is mainly because of its long legs and its extended neck. Although these animals used to roam in countries which are now known as Morocco and Egypt, they have since disappeared from said places. Giraffes can only be seen now in their natural habitats in East Africa. West and South Africa used to have significant populations of giraffes but these gradually grew smaller and smaller during the course of the twentieth century. This severe reduction in their numbers is due to several factors such as large-scale hunting, climate changes and the conversion of their natural habitats into agricultural farms.

12 Giraffe Facts
1. The average male giraffe height is 17 feet. That's 5.3 in meters. The female giraffe, on the other hand, has an average height of 14 feet or 4.3 meters. One of the tallest giraffes ever recorded measured 19 feet or 5.9 meters.
2. Because of its long and elongated neck, you would think that the giraffe has more bones in the neck than other mammals. However, just like the other members of its class, the giraffe's neck also has 7 neck vertebrae. These bones are just much longer than usual, thus accounting for the giraffe's impressive neck length.
3. Female giraffes tend to be approximately 25% smaller than their male counterparts.
4. The giraffe's head has two or up to four outgrowths from the top of the head that look like horns. These are but bony outgrowths from the skull.
5. The giraffe is capable of extending its tongue up to 18 inches long. This is very beneficial as the animal often uses its tongue in reaching for food.
6. It can run at a speed of 30 miles or 50 kilometers per hour.
7. It's one of the very few mammals that can walk via pacing. Pacing refers to the walking technique wherein the animal carries both feet on the right side forward then simultaneously move both feet on the left side forward.
8. The giraffe is known to be voiceless but the truth is that it can produce several vocal sounds.
9. Majority of giraffes make open woodland and dry savanna regions as their habitat. They are particularly drawn towards areas with acacia growths. The animals tend to congregate around rivers during the dry season. When the rainy season comes, they live in regions featuring deciduous trees.
10. The giraffe's main sources of food are the leaves as well as new shoots of trees and tall bushes.
11. It either lives alone or lives with a small group. Giraffe herds can exceed over 100 members.
12. There is a form of hierarchy that exists among male giraffes. They maintain their status through posturing an through a form of fighting or sparring wherein they swing their heads and necks at each other. It's very rare though that the animals get fatally hurt in such fights.

2 Bonus Giraffe Facts
1. Some giraffes in certain regions have no specific mating season.
2. No two giraffes share the same markings on their coats. Just like snow flakes, no two giraffes are identical when it comes to the markings on their coats.

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