Wildlife in Serengeti-Park
Giraffe | Giraffa camelopardalis
Marvel at the animals with the longest eyelashes! These protect the giraffes from injury they might get through twigs and thorns. Watch how elegant and exalted the giraffes are when they roam through our sprawling complex! They can reach up to speeds of 55 km/h! Giraffes are up to six meters and are thus the tallest animals in the world. They live only in the African savannah. There are eight subspecies, which differ in their coat drawing. Because of their physique and their fur pattern, it was once believed that the giraffe was a cross between camel and leopard. Hence the giraffe bears the Latin name Giraffa camelopardalis.
Giraffes come with their long neck to the highest treetops. However, as with all mammals, their cervical spine consists of only seven vertebrae. These elegant animals need around 30 to 60 kilograms of vegetables or leaves a day. Since they are quite choosy about their diet, they spend up to 14 hours a day eating. They have plenty of time, because giraffes sleep just one hour a day! Like deer and cattle, the giraffes are ruminants and have a stomach with several chambers. Their good eyesight combined with the length of the neck allows giraffes to closely monitor their surroundings and sight enemies in time. Their long legs help them with running far and fast, but they are only beneficial on solid ground. Softened or wet ground and grass pose the risk of the animals slipping and breaking a leg or their neck. Giraffes live solitary or in loose groups. The cohesion of the herds is not very strong, but you can see which animals are closer to each other and are therefore “friends”. Often giraffes are also found in communities with ostriches, zebras or antelopes. The young males join a bachelor group and move through the savannah. Among the giraffe bulls in a herd, there is a clear ranking that is fought for once and then accepted by all.
Giraffes can live up to 28 years old in the wild. The gestation period is about 15-18 months. The mother gives birth to the calf while standing. It falls from a height of almost two meters on the ground! Our first baby giraffe was born in 1977 in the Serengeti Park! A calf already weighs 50 to 70 kilograms and is 160 centimeters tall. It can already stand half an hour after the birth and can nurse for 8 to 10 months. Against their natural enemies such as lions, leopards and hyenas, giraffes successfully defend themselves with strong hoof kicks. The mothers are especially brave against attackers of their offspring.