Reticulated Giraffes Animal Kingdom

Reticulate Giraffe on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride

A baby giraffe was born October 7, 2006 at Disney's Animal Kingdom. She is the first offspring for her mother, a 9-year-old giraffe named Aibuni. The female calf, named Imara ("strong" in Swahili), is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 110 pounds. Aibuni and Imara are expected to be back on the Animal Kingdom savanna soon.

The first 2 animals to take up residence at Animal Kingdom were giraffes! Zari, the first female giraffe, is now a resident of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Reticulate Giraffe on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride

These giraffes are called Reticulated Giraffes, giraffa camelopardalis. The word reticulated refers to the patterns on the body.

A reticulated giraffe will have a pattern of large spots, similar in shape, with little "background" color shown so that you might wonder if the giraffe is all brown. Other giraffes have a wide variety of spots on their body of different shapes and sizes, the background color is also darker. Every giraffe has a unique pattern!

Reticulated giraffes are rare and native to the dry savannah and open woodlands of northeast Kenya, eastern Sudan and Eritrea. Poachers are attracted to their hides and hair to make items for tourists.

Half of the giraffe calves are killed during their first year of life by predeators such as hyaenas and leopards. Adult giraffes can be killed by a lion if they are asleep or in their territory, but they can also kill the lion with one swift kick!

Upclose look of Reticulate Giraffe on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride

Their large eyes provide them with very good vision and they can see colors as well as distances. They use this vision to check out water areas to make sure no preditors are around before they spread their legs and bend down to drink.

Males, although sexually mature at 3.5 years, typically don't mate until they reach the age of 8. The gestation period is 15 months and one calf is born. Mama actually gives birth standing up and the baby (approximately 6 foot tall and 125 pounds at birth) falls to the ground!

Reticulate Giraffes on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride
Giraffes can spend up to 18 hours a day eating. In the wild they enjoy acacia, flowers, fruits, herbs, seeds and vines. Here they are fed alfalfa hay and grains. Amazingly, reticulated giraffes can go weeks without water, hydrating thei body with dew on plants and food.

Giraffes are usually quiet animals but they can grunt or bleat. They do lay down to sleep but only for very brief periods of time.

They can weigh as much as 2,500 pounds, have an 18 inch tongue, and can run at 45 miles an hour.

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