Order Artiodactyla

Family Giraffidae

Species Giraffa camelopardalis

Habits and main features

Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, thanks to their towering legs and long necks. Males are 4.7 5.9 m high; females are 3.9 4.5 m. high. An average weight of males is 1,200 kg, female 800 kg. A giraffe's legs alone are taller than many humansabout 6 feet. These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles an hour over longer distances.
Typically, these fascinating animals roam the open grasslands in small groups of about half a dozen.
Bulls sometimes battle one another by butting their long necks and heads. Such contests aren't usually dangerous and end when one animal submits and walks away.
Giraffes use their height to good advantage and browse on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach (acacias are a favorite). Even the giraffe's tongue is long! The tongue helps them pluck tasty morsels from branches. Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. A giraffe eats hundreds of pounds of leaves each week and must travel miles to find enough food.


Reproduction in giraffes is broadly polygamous: a few older males mate with the fertile females. Male giraffes assess female fertility by tasting the female's urine to detect oestrus, in a multi-step process known as the flehmen response. Males prefer young adult females over juveniles and older adults. Girafe males reach maturity at the age of 4 5 years, female at 4 years.

Giraffe gestation lasts 400460 days, after which a single calf is normally born, although twins occur on rare occasions. The mother gives birth standing up. 

Within a few hours of birth, the calf can run around and is almost indistinguishable from a one-week-old. However, for the first 13 weeks, it spends most of its time hiding; its coat pattern providing camouflage. The ossicones, which have lain flat while it was in the womb, become erect within a few days.

Giraffes mainly feed on leaves and branches of shrubs and trees, typically acacia, grass, perennials and fruits. Vocalization: sniffing, bleating.

Life-span is up to 25 years.

Giraffe in Kyiv zoo

For the first time such exotic animals as reticulated giraffes arrived in Kiev zoo on August 22, 1977. Two young females Aurora and Styhia came from Leningrad Zoo, where they were born. Next year in 12 June 1978 Hugo the four years old male joined giragge females. Hugo came from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Two years later in 1980 Hugo and Aurora born a baby and it was a real sensation for Kyiv. A lot of people came to see newbord giraff. Baby giraffe was given a name of Olymp as that year the Soviet Union just held Olympics-80.

After 14-year pause in June 12, 2005 new animals arrived to Kyiv zoo from Germany in frames of EAZA exchange programm.

In 2008 enclosures for giraffes had been greatly expanded.

Today there are two giraffes in Kyiv zoo named Jumbo and Juto.

Animals daily eat 150 kg of different food consisting of twigs of willow, acacia and heather, oatmeal, oranges, bananas and carrots.