Grasslands Animals
G i r a f f e

The giraffe has very long legs and an amazingly long neck. It stands up to 11 feet tall at the shoulder and nearly 19 1/2 feet tall at the crown. It has light body with irregular dark spots. Some giraffes may be almost white or black, or even unspotted. Both male and female have skin-covered horns. One pair is on the forehead and sometimes a smaller pair is farther back. The tail ends in a tuft of long hairs. Giraffes live in troops of up to 6, sometimes 12. They may also be found in larger herds. A troop is led by a male. The male leads many females and their offspring. Males fight for the females, wrestling with their heads and necks. The troop ambles around its territory, feeding mostly in the early morning and afternoon. They eat leaves, buds and fruits on the top of acacia and thorn trees. The giraffes may also eat grass, plants and grain crops. At midday, giraffes rest in shade and at night lie down for a couple of hours or rest standing. Females give birth to a single offspring, rarely twins, after a gestation of over a year -- usually 400 to 468 days. Births invariably occur at first light. The young is suckled for 6 to 12 months and continues to grow for 10 years.