The Giraffe.

One of my favourite animals that fascinates me beyond words… the giraffe… It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft.) tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg (3,500 lb.) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb.) for females.

Despite its long neck and legs, the giraffe’s body is relatively short. Located at both sides of the head, the giraffe’s large, bulging eyes give it good all-round vision from its great height. Giraffes see in colour and their senses of hearing and smell are also sharp. The animal can close its muscular nostrils to protect against sandstorms and ants. The giraffe’s prehensile tongue is about 50 cm (20 in) long. It is purplish-black in colour, and is useful for grasping foliage, as well as for grooming and cleaning the animal’s nose. The upper lip of the giraffe is also prehensile and useful when foraging. The lips, tongue and inside of the mouth are covered in papillae to protect against thorns.

A giraffe has only two speeds: walking and galloping. Walking is done by moving the legs on one side of the body at the same time, then doing the same on the other side. When galloping, the hind legs move around the front legs before the latter move forward, and the tail will curl up. The animal relies on the forward and backward motions of its head and neck to maintain balance and the counter momentum while galloping. The giraffe can reach a sprint speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), and can sustain 50 km/h (31 mph) for several kilometres.

There is just too much to tell you about this ungainly looking animal that is a marvel of nature…

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I love this photo above… “whatcu doing?”

and below a big male..

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67 thoughts on “The Giraffe.

  1. Great images. I tweeted to my followers in Colchester as we have a summer of sculptures dedicated to giraffes all over Colchester.

  2. I must admit to being fascinated by this creature but knowing little about him. Thanks so much for the lesson and those spectacular photos you always provide. 🙂

    • Thank you LuAnn.. there is more to come when I get the chance.. there is so much to divulge about this animal and I didn’t want to do it all in one post… followers might get bored…

  3. These shots are just amazing, Bulldog. I’ve also heard that the giraffe has the highest blood pressure of any animal (I don’t know if this is true, but it sounds interesting)! 😀

    • I would imagine that it could be true,, considering the heights it pumps to… but it must have a strong sucking power to,.. getting the water up that height must take some doing…

    • Thank you Naomi, just noticed my follow button of your blog has been switched off… thought you might have given up so I have just reactivated it and look forward to your posts…

  4. When the first travellers to Africa returned home to tell their tales, those about giraffes were probably regarded as a tall story! 🙂 Lovely animals – so laid-back.

  5. I still remember the first one I saw in the wild. I was in Zambia and I had just finished an elephant ride. As I was waiting for the van to pick us up I turned and saw this giraffe walking towards us. I didn’t even move for my camera, I just stood with my mouth open looking pretty stupid compared to this wonderful creature.

    • They are very impressive up close… one only really gets the feeling of their size in real life… as ungainly as they look they are the most economic movers I’ve ever seen.. as I’m sure you can attest to with your encounter…

  6. I love the “watch doin’ ” picture too! Also the one below it….love them all but those two especially :)….(You and Lorna …. BEHAVE)

  7. I love giraffes also, Rob, but of course, I’ve never seen one outside of a zoo! Everything about their body seems so odd, yet they have a fluidity about them when they walk that just works. 🙂 Like someone with a sense of humor made them to amuse us…and they’re delightful. Seeing these photos just automatically brought a smile to my face!

    • Thank you… to see these in full flight in the bush is something one should witness.. even at top speed they look as though the are strolling along…

  8. Still blown away at you being able to capture these photos of animals in their native states…I can only imagine the thrill it must be.

    • It is a thrill and privilege to be able to do just that… and it has been a blessing I received from birth to have grown up amid them all…

  9. Oh yes, I love giraffes, they’re wonderful! Not far from where I live there’s a wild animal park called Port Lympne and they have an African experience safari, obviously it’s not in the same league as proper African safaris, but it is in 100 acres, so it’s a reasonable size for a British version! We went on it a couple of years ago, and the giraffes were coming right up to the vehicle, they didn’t seem at all nervous of us, I guess they’re used to people there and know that the people pose them no threat.

    • We have been licked by a giraffe that was a tame pet at Tods Hotel in the old Rhodesia, their tongue stinks and leaves an odour that is hard to wash off… so don’t let them lick you

  10. oh my gosh these photos are fantastic. Can’t believe you are lucky enough to get up close and personal with all this wildlife. Brings a tear to my eye seeing the beauty of these creatures. Really pleased you appreciate them and what you have and that you share with us all.

    • Me neither… but I’ve seen some of the tallest and watched them get down to drink… they must have a good pump system to raise the water to that height…

  11. I adore giraffes. The Colorado Springs Zoo has an amazing display and feeding these guys up close is indeed a special treat, although seeing them in their natural habitat is preferable. Great shots 🙂

    • Thank you Ingred… they are a sight to see in their natural habitat… I’ve witnessed battles between males, seen them running at full tilt, (although it looks like a steady walk) and even been around just after a birth to see the youngster rise to his feet so quickly, although wobbly was ready for flight withing minutes…

  12. Just spent a considerable amount of time on your Blog and I must say it is by far the best Blog I have found on WordPress! The photography is PHENOMENAL!

    • The older they get the bigger and stronger those short tufts become, believe it or not I think the males head gets heavier as he ages, so when in his prime the longer horns combined with the heavier head puts him in a position to win the battles that come with mating….

  13. I too love giraffes, so your post is a real treat for me, bulldog. The color variation of their blotches in your photos fascinates me. Within 7 photos, the color of the splotches on the giraffes vary substantially, going from tan, golden, medium brown to dark brown. Thank you for the info about these interesting creatures too.
    Russ

    • Surprisingly enough the lighter ones come from the more desert areas and the darker thicker bush… but the male blotch is normally darker than the female… never could quite figure out the differences and there reason for differing… I do believe there are something like 9 odd different sub specie.. but the why and how of that is beyond me…

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