Baringo giraffe

Latin Name
Giraffa camelopardalis rothschild

Class
Mammals

Order
Artiodactyla

Description

The tallest animal on the ground, giraffes can reach up to 19 feet in height. Females are slightly shorter than males, topping out at 16 feet, but both genders display brown, patterned coats. The Baringo giraffe's front legs are longer than the back legs, giving the body as a whole a sloping appearance. Both male and female giraffes display tufted horns on the top of the head, although the males' skull develops layers of bony growths as it ages.


 

Range

Baringo giraffes can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.


Status

Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Reticulated and Rothschild Giraffe Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Habitat

This herbivorous species prefers open woodlands, plains and savannas.


Niche

Baringo giraffes use their extremely long (up to 18 inches), manipulative tongues to gather leaves in the wild. The tongue is flexible enough to pluck preferred acacia leaves while avoiding the acacia tree's thorns.


Life History

Baringo giraffes gather in herds of 2-40 individuals. These groupings are fluid, with members frequently coming and going. Males will compete for access to fertile females through “necking,” a behavior where two males entwine their necks and wrestle to determine which is stronger. Females give birth after 14-15 months of gestation, and offspring can measure six feet at birth.


Special Adaptations
  • The Baringo giraffe's long tail ends in a large tuft of hair, which the species uses as a flyswatter to drive away insects.
     
  • To pump blood up to the brain, giraffes make use of a heart that weighs up to 24 pounds. Elastic blood vessels in the mammal's neck stretch when it lowers its head to drink to prevent an unwanted rush to the head.
     
  • While the giraffe's neck is much longer than a human's, both structures are composed of the same number of bones: seven. The vertebrae in a giraffe's neck are simply much longer than those in a human's. This extra length is thought to have evolved to help the species spot predators on the plains of Africa.


Bonus Content

Heads in the Heavens
The baringo giraffes at Lincoln Park Zoo have some meals served at the ceiling.


Veterans Feed the Giraffes on 11.11.11
As part of the zoo’s 11.11.11 celebration honoring Veterans Day and the calendar itself, veterans received a special opportunity to feed the zoo’s Baringo giraffes. See a slideshow of the fun!

 


Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit