[Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi]
The Masai Giraffe is the tallest living mammal, standing an average of 16 to 18 feet for a male and 1 or 2 feet less for a female. (The record in a zoo was 192 inches.) Weight can range to a maximum of 1,760 pounds. The long neck has the usual 7 vertebrae, but each is quite long. In fact, all the bones in a giraffe are long. The coat consists of brown or reddish blotches on a lighter background. The pattern of the coat varies and is an aide for camouflage with the different habitats. The skin pattern for an individual giraffe is constant throughout the giraffe’s life. With the changing of season and health, the coat color may be altered. Giraffes have a steeply sloping back from the shoulders to the rump. Their tails are thin and long. A black tuft at the end of the tail whisks away flies and other flying insects. Giraffe horns are unlike those of other mammals. They are present at birth as cartilaginous knobs and become bony later as the animal matures. Eventually the horns fuse with the skull. They are like deer antlers that are in permanent velvet.
Location: African Plains