Giraffes are easily recognized for their long necks and tall bodies covered in spots. Giraffes are also considered to be the tallest land animal in the world. These gentle giants are special creatures but where in the world can these animals be found?
Are there giraffes in Australia?
Giraffes are not native to Australia. In the wild, giraffes are only found in one continent and that is Africa. There are nine different species of giraffes and they are all found in Africa. More exactly in the grasslands and open woodlands of East Africa. Country-wise, these tall creatures can be found in the countries of Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
They like living in a habitat that is semiarid and are open woodlands that have scattered trees and bushes, so this is why the savannas of Africa are the perfect place for giraffes to live.
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There are savannas in Australia, but the savannas there are tropical. Giraffes need a semiarid (or semi-dry) savanna and a tropical savannah would not be a good habitat for them. The Australian Tropical Savanna is located in parts of northern Australia. Some animals that live in this savanna include the red kangaroo, the wallaby, the short-beaked echidna, the saltwater crocodile, the eastern brown snake, the black-headed python, and the giant frog.
Even though there are no giraffes living in the wild in Australia, there are some giraffes in the country’s zoos. In fact, the largest giraffe in the world lives in Australia! Guinness World Records named Forest, a male giraffe living in Australia Zoo, as the tallest giraffe in the world.
Forest is more than eighteen and a half feet tall – that is about the size of four cars stacked on top of each other! He came to Australia Zoo when he was just two years old and has been living there for over ten years. During his time at the zoo, he has fathered thirteen giraffe calves.
Are giraffes endangered?
Giraffes are considered to be a vulnerable species that is just one step above endangered. Giraffes used to have a larger home range in Africa, but the areas that they live has shrunken with their population. In the past thirty years, the amount of giraffes in the wild has decreased by about 40%.
Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, two of them are critically endangered. The Kordofan giraffe and the Nubian giraffe are the most endangered species, with there being only about 455 Nubian giraffes left in the wild. Two of the giraffe subspecies -the Angolan giraffe and the South African giraffe – are listed as the least concern. In total, there are about 68,000 giraffes (of all subspecies) left in the wild.
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The giraffe population is decreasing because of habitat loss, civil unrest, climate change, and illegal poaching. Urban growth is increasing exponentially in Africa. This is making it harder and harder for giraffes to find safe places to live, eat, and drink water.
The changes in the climate are also leading to there being changes in the continent’s rain patterns. This is causing some plant life to die, decreasing their access to
What do giraffes eat?
The diet of a giraffe is mostly made up of leaves. Their favorite leaves to eat come from the acacia tree. Not a lot of animals like eating from acacia trees because, on top of the leaves, this tree also grows thorns. But giraffes have thick and sticky salvia that protect them from the sharp thorns that they eat.
One great thing about the acacia tree leaves is that they have large amounts of water in them, which means that they do not have to drink water frequently. If giraffes have access to water, they can drink up to ten gallons a day.
Who are giraffe predators?
Even though they are one of the biggest animals in the African savanna, giraffes still have to worry about other animals. Lions are the primary predators for giraffes, but giraffes can also fall victim to hungry leopards and hyenas. Young giraffe calves are the most at risk- sadly, only about 50% of all calves reach six months of age.