giraffe


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giraffe,

African ruminant mammal, genus Giraffa, living in open savanna S of the Sahara. Giraffes have historically been considered to be one species, G. camelopardalis, with a number of subspecies, but DNA study now suggests that there are in fact four giraffe species, the southern giraffe, the Masai giraffe, the reticulated giraffe, and the northern giraffe, and that the southern and northern giraffes have subspecies. The tallest of animals, giraffes browse in treetops at heights inaccessible to other leaf-eaters. A male may be 18 ft (5.5 m) from hoof to crown. The neck, which is up to 7 ft (2.1 m) long, has only seven vertebrae, the usual number in mammals, but each is very elongated. The legs are also long and end in large hooves; the body is relatively short. The short hornlike ossicones are formed of ossified cartilage and covered with skin and hair. Giraffes have large, sandy to chestnut, angular spots closely spaced on a lighter background. They feed chiefly on leaves of acacia and mimosa, using their extensible tongues and mobile lips to secure food. Giraffes travel in small herds whose membership typically readily changes; females can form long-lasting relationship with each other. They can outrun most of their enemies and have been known to kill lions with a kick. They are most vulnerable when spreading their forelegs and lowering their heads to drink; however, they can do without water for long intervals. They are among the very few mammals that cannot swim at all. Females bear a single calf, which is about 6 ft (180 cm) tall at birth. The only other member of the giraffe family is the okapiokapi
, nocturnal ruminant mammal, Okapia johnstoni, of the giraffe family. It inhabits the almost sunless rain forests of the upper Congo and feeds on leaves. Its shape is reminiscent of a giraffe's, but it is smaller, with a much shorter neck.
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. Giraffes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Giraffidae.

giraffe

[jə′raf]
(vertebrate zoology)
Giraffa camelopardalis. An artiodactyl mammal in the family Giraffidae characterized by extreme elongation of the neck vertebrae, and two prominent horns on the head.

Giraffe

[jə′raf]
(astronomy)

giraffe

tallest of animals. [Zoology: NCE, 1088]

giraffe

a large ruminant mammal, Giraffa camelopardalis, inhabiting savannas of tropical Africa: the tallest mammal, with very long legs and neck and a colouring of regular reddish-brown patches on a beige ground: family Giraffidae
References in periodicals archive ?
"Target training is a great way to help get the giraffes to come to you, but the main use is for giraffe husbandry, as it allows us to safely get close to them and examine the tops of their heads and faces for example."
The role also involves representing the zoo and the Giraffe team for media interviews, and conferences in the UK and overseas.
A total of 29 woody plant species were recorded from the 106 observation plots with 12 woody plant species being selected by the introduced giraffe. Piliostigma thonningii, Vangueria infausta, Ziziphus mucronata, Combretum apiculatum, Pseudolachnostylis maprouneifolia, and Combretum molle were preferred during the dry season, whereas Flueggea virosa, Olea africana, Combretum erythrophyllum, Combretum hereroense, Combretum imberbe, and Ziziphus mucronata were preferred in the wet season.
Designing and building a giraffe enrichment device could be a tall order for some, but not for Randolph Community College's welding technology students.
KEEPERS are celebrating the birth of a giraffe calf whose father passed away two months ago.
<B One-day-old baby giraffe calf Gus looks at the camera at Noah's Ark farm in Bristol
The calf was named "Tajiri" by Alyssa Swilley, giraffe keeper at the park and she was given the opportunity to do so based on a vote that included the option "Alyssa's choice." That option received the most votes from the public, allowing Swilley to decide the calf's name.
FLAMINGO Land is welcoming a new arrival this Easter - a baby giraffe named Sophie.
Joy especially likes the loving look of Baby Giraffe towards Mommy Giraffe.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meeting in Mexico, says that giraffe numbers have declined by 40% in just 30 years.
With the story of Gemina, a Santa Barbara giraffe who grew with a 90 degree bend in her neck, Dagg explains that the extra care provided by zoo staff likely extended Gemina's life span, and that she would likely have been a target for predators had she remained in the wild.