Giraffe

Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis spp
Irish Name: Sioráf
IUCN Status: Endangered

Giraffes are the tallest living land animal in the world, reaching heights of over 5 metres. They have a beautiful irregular brown patterns on their coat with off-white divisions. They have very long necks and legs with horn-like features called ossicones on their heads.

Giraffe

Giraffes are the tallest living land animal in the world, reaching heights of over 5 metres. They have a beautiful irregular brown patterns on their coat with off-white divisions. They have very long necks and legs with horn-like features called ossicones on their heads.

General Information

Where do they live?

Can be found in forest, shrubland and savanah habitats in north and east Kenya, south-west Somalia and southern Ethiopia.

How long do they live?

25 years in the wild

What do they eat?

Giraffe are diurnal grazers. They mostly feed on Acacia species with their long, prehensile tongues. Males feed higher than females, giving them access to new shoots. However, diet changes seasonally and they are known to feed on other ever-greens and semi-deciduous plants. They constantly roam in search for food, but can regurgitate food and chew it as curd.

Group Name

Herd/tower

Zoo location

African plains

Closest Related Species/Sister Species

Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)

Animal Class

Mammalia

Animal Order

Cetartiodactlya

Fun Facts

Heavy Head

A skull can weigh up to 13 kgs in some old males.

Calves

Calves will start to eat solid food from 3-4 weeks but will remain to suckle for an average of 9 months, some even until 1.5 years old.

Soft Ossicones

Calves are born with soft ossicones, which only fuse to their skull once they reach sexual maturity.

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Family Life

Baby Name

Calf

Gestation period

15 months

Number of young at birth

Usually one

Weight at birth

Around 60kg

Age at maturity

Females are sexually mature around 3.5 years and males around 4.5 years

Adult male name

Bull

Adult female name

Cow

Size male adult

5.3 meters and 1,200 kg average

Size female adult

4.3 meters and 830 kg average

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Conservation

IUCN Status

Endangered (2018)

Current population estimate

Approximately 97,000 individuals

Threats

Giraffes are classified as 'Vulnerable' by the International Union of Conservation in Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and poaching for their hide.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin Zoo is working with in partnership with Rothschild Giraffe Project in Kenya to fund research in giraffe social networks in order to better understand herd dynamics. Dublin Zoo is also part a European breeding programme for Rothschild giraffes.

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FAQs

  • How tall is a giraffe?

    Males are around 5.3 meters, females are around 4.3 meters

  • How long are giraffes pregnant for?

    A giraffes gestation is around 15 months

  • Are giraffes endangered?

    Yes, giraffes were classed as Endangered by the IUCN in 2018.

  • How do giraffes sleep?

    They sleep only for around 4 hours a day, broken into 15 minute chunks so they can always be on the look out for predators.

  • How long do giraffes live?

    25 years in the wild.

  • What do giraffes eat?

    Giraffes mostly eat Acacia tree leaves in the wild, but will graze on other browse.

  • What is a baby giraffe called?

    A calf.

  • How long are giraffes in labor?

    Anywhere from 20 minutes, to several hours.

  • Where do giraffes live?

    Found in north and east Kenya, south-west Somalia and southern Ethiopia.

  • How do giraffes mate?

    Females have an estrous cycle of 14.7 days, when they are sexually active. Males spend most of their time roaming in search of a fertile female and once found, they mate guard her to ensure successful mating.

  • How much does a giraffe weigh?

    Males can weight 1,200 kg and females around 830 kg

  • What color is a giraffe's tongue?

    A purple shade thought to help protect against sunburn.

  • Do giraffes mate for life?

    Giraffes do not mate for life. Females are generally always pregant in their adult lives with males roaming large distances for females.

  • How tall is a baby giraffe?

    Around 2 meters tall at birth.

  • What is a group of giraffes called?

    Herd/tower.

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