giraffesThe tallest animal in Africa with a long neck and long legs, the giraffe is unmistakable. The giraffe of Africa are classified into eight subspecies taken from the patterning and the secluded distribution of the animals.

Despite their range having shrunk due to human impact, giraffe still have a wide distribution in sub-saharan Africa and are still abundant in many areas.
Social structure
Giraffe have a very loose social structure with individuals of both sexes moving freely from group to group. There is no hierarchical structure although males will face off with each other to establish dominance within a group of males. These displays are normally over in a short time, although they can carry on for hours and at times turn nasty.
Range differentiation
The giraffe of Africa are classified into eight subspecies. These sub-classifications are taken from the patterning and the secluded distribution of the animals. The reticulated giraffe of east Africa has the most distinctive markings of all whereas the southern giraffe has the greatest variety of patterning. The Thornicroft’s giraffe of Zambia is sub-classified due to its distribution not overlapping with any other sub-species (it also has a slight variation in patterning).
Occur in the open savanna woodland areas and in semi-desert areas such as Namibia and the Kalahari in Botswana. It is believed that water is essential for the survival of giraffe. However, in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve I have observed giraffe in areas where no drinking water was available.
With a reach of 13 meters and a flexible nine-inch (45cm) tongue the giraffe is able to eat leaves that other animals cannot reach. The tongue also allows it to reach shoots on thorny acacia trees, manoeuvring it around the dangers. Giraffe are predominantly browsers been able to reach the leaves at the tops of trees that other animals can’t reach.
Mating involves a lengthy courtship of shoving and scenting before an awkward looking mount ensues. Young are born after a fifteen-month gestation period and the female drops her calf while standing up. The calves can walk within an hour of birth. The calves will stay in what can best be described as a daycare with other young ones and will be protected by all the adults that are in the area at the time.