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Regenstein African Journey

Did You Know?

  • Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. Their height gives them the greatest range of vision of any terrestrial animal.
  • They use their dark-colored, prehensile, 21-inch-long tongues to grab and eat leaves—some may eat up to 75 pounds a day—from trees across Africa. They also have prehensile lips.
  • Giraffes have seven neck vertebrae, the same as humans. Of course, those bones are much larger. Their necks also have a series of valves that regulate blood flow to the head.

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Why aren’t animals visible at all times? To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.


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Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis

Class: Mammals

Diet: Leaves (mostly from acacia, mimosa, and wild apricot trees)

Range: Sub-Saharan Africa

Endangered Status: Vulnerable

More Information

On average, male giraffes stand at 17 feet tall, but females are slightly shorter at 14 feet. Their weight ranges between 1,200–4.250 pounds. The color and pattern of each giraffe’s coat varies, and their light-colored undersides usually lack spots. They have a mane down the back of their neck and tufts of hair on the tips of their long tail. Giraffes can run quickly; the fastest can reach 35 mph over short distances. Still, they may spend up to 20 hours a day browsing for leaves.

Giraffes are timid and alert. They get most of the water from the plants they eat, so they may go over a month without needing to get a drink. This helps their survival prospects, because drinking puts them into a vulnerable position—bent over, with front legs spread. They live in small groups of two to 10 individuals, and young males may form bachelor groups. These mammals breed year-round, but more young tend to be born in the dry months. Infant giraffes, born after a 15-month gestation, may be 100–150 pounds at birth and 5.5–6.5 feet tall. They can stand within 20 minutes of being born. Females become mature at 3.5 years old; males do so at 4.5 years.

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