The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) is an ungulate mammal in the Giraffidae family of giraffes. An ungulate is a hoofed mammal. It is related to the Okapi.
The Masai Giraffe has a long neck with seven vertebrae (bones) and a short mane (neck hair). It has distinctive, irregular, jagged, brown star-like or leaf-like shapes on its cream-coloured fur. The shapes occur all the way to its hooves. It has long, thin, but powerful legs. It has a long tongue and big eyes, which are the size of golf balls. Its tail has a tuft of hair at the end.
As it ages, the male often develops two calcium deposits, called ossicones, in its skull. An ossicone looks like mini horns. It is not a horn. It is a bony ossicone that is covered in fur.
It grows to 5-6 metres (16-19 feet) tall. It has a long neck of 2 metres, which is 200 centimetres (6.5 feet) long. Its legs also measure about 200 centimetres long. Its long tongue is about 45-51 centimetres (18-20 inches) long.
The Masai Giraffe can kick other animals to death, and it can run up to 56 kilometres per hour (35 miles per hour).
It is found in central and southern Kenya and Tanzania.
The Masai Giraffe lives in small herds. It moves within its territory that can be more than 80 kilometres (50 miles).
The Masai Giraffe spends most of the day feeding. It is a browser. It can spend 16-20 hours eating every day. It eats the leaves of the thorny acacia tree, as well as twigs, fruits, and flowers.
It sleeps for only short periods at a time.
The male Masai Giraffe often fights for dominance by hitting its neck against another male. This is called necking.
The female is pregnant for about 14-15 months before giving birth to one baby, called a calf. The calf is about 1.8 metres (6 feet) tall at birth and can walk almost straight away.
It can live for 10-15 years in the wild.
Location of photographs: Masai Mara, Kenya
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM