The giraffe (Giraffa) is a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, thetallest living terrestrial animals and the largest ruminants. The genus consists of eleven species including Giraffa camelopardalis, the type species. Seven of these species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils, while four are still extant. Whereas Giraffa once was thought to contain a single extant species with numerous subspecies, research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA ofGiraffa has revealed four to six distinct extant species. The four-species taxonomic classification has the genus Giraffacomposed of the species Giraffa giraffa(southern giraffe), Giraffa tippelskirchi(Masai giraffe), Giraffa reticulata(reticulated giraffe) and Giraffa camelopardalis (northern giraffe).

The giraffe’s chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. Each of the four species is distinguished by its coat patterns and genetics. Its scattered range extends fromChad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west toSomalia in the east. Giraffes usually inhabit savannahs and woodlands. Their food source is leaves, fruits and flowers of woody plants, primarily acacia species, which they browse at heights most other herbivores cannot reach. Giraffes may be preyed on by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs. Giraffes live in herds of related females and their offspring, or bachelor herds of unrelated adult males, but are gregarious and may gather in large aggregations. Males establish social hierarchies through “necking”, which are combat bouts where the neck is used as a weapon. Dominantmales gain mating access to females, which bear the sole responsibility for raising the young.

More Information

  • Extra: There may be more details in Wikipedia

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Giraffidae
  • Genus: Giraffa


  • Giraffa camelopardalis
  • Giraffa giraffa
  • Giraffa reticulata
  • Giraffa tippelskirchi
  • Giraffa gracilis †
  • Giraffa jumae †
  • Giraffa priscilla †
  • Giraffa punjabiensis †
  • Giraffa pygmaea †
  • Giraffa sivalensis †
  • Giraffa stillei †