Giraffes–A Beautiful Species

Alissa Obenhaus, Writer

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Giraffes, a tremendous species, currently set the record for world’s tallest animals with their legs alone being taller than the average human male. With legs as long as 6 feet, giraffes can run up to 35 miles an hour over short distances and comfortably travel long distances at 10 miles an hour.

Weighing approximately 1,750-2,800 pounds, giraffes have an average lifespan of about 25 years. Unlike the average human heart, that weighs about 10 ounces, a giraffe’s heart alone can weigh up to 25 pounds.

Scientifically known as the Giraffa camelopardalis, more commonly known as the giraffe, live off of plants because of their herbivorous lifestyle. Standing at 14-19 feet tall, the giraffes neck takes up 6 feet of its total body height, making it easy for these tall creatures to feed off treetops.

Native to Africa, these beautiful animals typically roam their open grassland homes in small herds of about half a dozen giraffes for easy travel. Instead of traveling in big herds, giraffes travel in small herds because they move quicker and it leaves more open trees to feed off of.

Originally classified as one species, giraffes obtained the name Cervus camelopardalis by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the scientific name for giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis, did not come along until 1772 when Morten Thrane Brünnich classified the genus Giraffa.

Most giraffes have a small hump on their back and a spotted pattern similar to that of a leopards. Because of those features for a long time people did not know the mammals name, so they called them “camel-leopards”, thinking them a combination of the two.

Although a recent study of giraffe genetics published in the scientific journal Current Biology concluded that four distinct species of giraffes exist, still scientists only recognize one species with nine subspecies. The nine different subspecies have different coat patterns and live in different parts of Africa from each other.

A giraffe’s coat colors vary from tan to basically black. The differences occur due to what the giraffes eat and where they live. Each individual giraffe’s markings, as individual as human fingerprints, help scientists distinctly tell the giraffes apart for research and study.

Giraffes- a beautiful and diverse species of mammals!

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