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Masai Giraffe

Chews its cud like a cow

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Giraffidae

Genus & Species: Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi


Masai giraffes are one of nine subspecies of the giraffe. They have the usual long legs and a long neck with special valves used to control the flow of blood to the head. The coat is covered in irregular star-shaped patches and is buff-coloured below the knee. As with all giraffes, the spots on the coat act as human fingerprints and can be used to identify an individual. The males grow to a height of 18 ft (5.5 m), and the females 16 ft (4.8 m). The males weigh 2475-4275 lbs (1100-1900 kg) and the females 1575-2700 lbs (700-1200 kg). Both males and females have skin-covered horns called ossicorns. The tongue is 18 in. in length and the lips are long and prehensile. Masai giraffes can run to speeds of 35 mph. They have a life span of 25-30 years.


Masai giraffes are diurnal and live in small groups. They are found in the savannas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania in Africa.


Masai giraffes feed 16-20 hours each day. They consume large quantities of leaves, twigs, sprouts, flowers, fruits, and bark. They mainly feed off whistling-thorn acacia trees, using their long lips and tongues to reach between the thorns to extract the leaves. They have a four- chambered stomach and can chew their own cud. If fresh vegetation is available in large quantities they can go without water for weeks, extracting it from their food. The males eat from the top branches, the females from the bottom branches.


A single calf is born after a 14-15 month gestation period. The calf is 6 ft tall when born and grows rapidly. During the first month of its life it stays with its mother. After this period it will join a group of calves and will be looked after by a "babysitter" cow. The calf will remain in this nursery for one year.


Lions, hyaenas and poachers are the main enemies of the Masai giraffe. Their only defence is their speed and their powerful kick that can render a lion unconscious and in some cases even decapitate it.


The Masai giraffe is one of nine subspecies of the giraffe , which includes the reticulated , Rothschild's and Nubian giraffes. The only other species in the family Giraffidae is the okapi.


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