The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 1,200 kg while the average mass for an adult female is 830 kg. It is approximately 4.3 m to 5.2 m tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 6 m.
Its range extends from Chad in Central Africa to South Africa. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. However, when food is scarce they will venture into areas with denser vegetation. They prefer areas with plenty of acacia growth. They will drink large quantities of water when available, which enables them to live for extended periods in dry, arid areas.
Giraffes have long necks which they use to browse tree leaves. The neck has seven highly lengthened vertebrae, otherwise the usual number of vertebrae for a mammal. Moreover, the vertebrae are separated by very flexible joints, the base of the neck has spines which project upward to form a hump over the shoulders and anchor muscles hold the neck upright.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giraffe - 09.04.2010
Portrait of a Giraffe
It is astonishing, that such a tall animal with a very distinctive shape, can possess such a mild and a little bit melancholic physionomy.