The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. There are nine similar subspecies of giraffe, which are distinguished by coat pattern and geographical location. Patterns and shades of dark patches on its coat help conceal the animal when it stands in the shade of trees.
A giraffe will live in a group but won't form permanent herds. Male giraffes, bulls, establish a pecking order by the ritual necking the intertwining of necks to fight for dominance.
Its long neck (having seven neck vertebrates like most mammals but elongated) is used for multiple purposes. A series of valves in the vessels of the vascular system ensures a blood supply to the head.
The giraffe is one of the few ruminants born with horns. They can grow up to five skin-covered horns and have a tongue 18 inches long which helps it to reach leaves. When startled, a giraffe can gallop up to 30 mph for a moderate distance.
A young giraffe is born in an area known as a calving ground. Many females will use this area time and again to ensure the safety of their young. Babies are weaned at 15 months and are not fully grown until they reach 3-4 years of age.
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