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giraffe

giraffe, African ruminant mammal, Giraffa camelopardalis, living in open savanna S of the Sahara. The tallest of animals, giraffes browse in treetops at heights inaccessible to other leaf-eaters. A male may be 18 ft (5.5 m) from hoof to crown. The neck, which is up to 7 ft (2.1 m) long, has only seven vertebrae, the usual number in mammals, but each is very elongated. The legs are also long and end in large hooves; the body is relatively short. The short hornlike ossicones are formed of ossified cartilage and covered with skin and hair. Giraffes, which are divided into a number of subspecies, have large, sandy to chestnut, angular spots closely spaced on a lighter background. They feed chiefly on leaves of acacia and mimosa, using their extensible tongues and mobile lips to secure food. Giraffes travel in small herds whose membership typically readily changes; females can form long-lasting relationship with each other. They can outrun most of their enemies and have been known to kill lions with a kick. They are most vulnerable when spreading their forelegs and lowering their heads to drink; however, they can do without water for long intervals. They are among the very few mammals that cannot swim at all. Females bear a single calf, which is about 6 ft (180 cm) tall at birth. The only other member of the giraffe family is the okapi. Giraffes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Giraffidae.

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giraffe

giraffe Hoofed, ruminant mammal found in the African savannas; the tallest living mammal. It has a very long neck, a short tufted mane, and two to four skin-covered horns on the head. The legs are long, slender and bony. Their coats are pale brown with red-brown blotches. Height: to 5.5m (18ft). Family Giraffidae; species Giraffa camelopardalis.

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giraffe

gi·raffe / jəˈraf/ • n. (pl. same or giraffes) a large African mammal (Giraffa camelopardalis, family Giraffidae) with a very long neck and forelegs, having a coat patterned with brown patches separated by lighter lines. It is the tallest living animal.

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giraffe

giraffe XVII. There are early forms depending on It. giraffa and OF. girafle, and occas. on Arab. zarāfa (ult. source of the word in the Eur. langs.); the present form, hardly established before XVIII, is — F. girafe.

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giraffe

giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) See GIRAFFIDAE.

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giraffe

giraffebarf, behalf, calf, chaff, coif, giraffe, Graf, graph, half, laugh, scarf, scrum half, staff, strafe, wing half •headscarf • mooncalf • bar graph •telegraph • polygraph • epigraph •serigraph • cardiograph • radiograph •spectrograph • micrograph •lithograph • heliograph •choreograph • tachograph •stylograph • holograph • seismograph •chronograph, monograph •phonograph • paragraph •cinematograph • pictograph •autograph • photograph • flagstaff •jackstaff • distaff • tipstaff • epitaph •pikestaff • cenotaph

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