At the Detroit Zoo
The excitement was elevated at the Detroit Zoo the last day of September 2014 when Mpenzi, a male giraffe calf, was born to mom Kivuli and dad Jabari. The pair and their leggy little one can be found elegantly roaming their Egyptian-themed home next to the Grevy’s zebras in the African Grasslands. A self-assured adult, Jabari (Swahili for "brave one") is said to have a curious personality and loves finding new toys. He can sometimes be seen flipping his toys up to catch them between his ossicones (fur-covered horns) on top of his head. Kivuli (Swahili for "shadow"), the more reserved of the two, is described as timid and skittish. The Giraffe Encounter, an elevated viewing platform overlooking their habitat, puts guests at eye-level with the Zoo’s tallest creatures. Visitors may purchase tickets to hand-feed these gentle giants at designated feeding times. In the winter months, the giraffes can be seen indoors.
The giraffe is the largest land mammal in the world. The reticulated giraffe received its name from the brown, square-like patterns that cover its body with white lines in between (known as a reticulated pattern). Its long neck and legs make the giraffe the tall mammal that it is. It has a long, narrow face with two, fur-covered horns, or ossicones, that adorn the top of its head. A thin, brown-colored mane runs down its neck and it has a tuft of brown hair at the end of its tail.
Scientific name: Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
Habitat: Dry savannas
Size: Up to 18 feet tall
Weight: Up to 2,600 pounds
Diet: The reticulated giraffe is a herbivore and mainly eats Acacia tree leaves, but will eat other leaves and shoots as well.
Reproduction: Gestation 14 months; single calf
Lifespan: 28 years
Conservation Status: Least Concern
The giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck as a human (there are only seven bones in its neck).
A giraffe’s tongue can be up to 22 inches long, which makes eating leaves a breeze.
The giraffe is capable of making sounds that are too low for humans to hear.
A giraffe eats 16 to 20 hours a day, consuming up to 75 pounds of fresh browse.
Giraffes get to spend more quality time together than most mammals, considering they rarely sleep more than 20 minutes each day.
A giraffe’s heart can weigh up to 25 pounds (an adult human heart weighs about 10 ounces).