Masai Giraffe


COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

DIETLeaves, twigs, sprouts, flowers, fruits, and bark

RANGEKenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Tanzania

HABITATAfrican tropical savannas

Masai Giraffe

Masai giraffes are natively found in East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Somalia. They are one of 7 species of giraffe. They reside in grassland and savannah regions. They are endangered with less than 35,000 individuals left in the wild. Main threats to their population include habitat loss, climate change, and poaching.

In the wild, their diet includes browse from leaves, twigs, sprouts, flowers, fruit, & bark of trees in the savannah. At the Lehigh Valley Zoo their diet includes timothy and alfalfa hay, tree browse (such as sugar maple, autumn olive, honey locust, and honeysuckle), wild herbivore grain, fruits and veggies. They do eat for 16-20 hours a day. Because of this, they have an 18 inch long dark purple/black colored tongue. The dark colored tongue helps prevent sunburn!

Giraffe are herd animals and will live in either a family herd or bachelor herd.
Giraffe gestation is about 15 months. The calf is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds at birth. They are able to walk within the first half hour.

Male Masai Giraffe can reach heights of 17-19 feet and weigh between 2000 and 3000 pounds. Females are smaller at 16-18 feet in height and weigh 1300 to 2000 pounds. Masai giraffes are the darkest species of giraffe and are known for their “maple leaf” like spots. Each spot pattern is unique to that particular giraffe. Besides offering camouflage, these spots also aid with thermoregulation.

Masai giraffes can live approximately 25 years under human care.

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