Q:

Why are giraffes so tall?

A:

Quick Answer

A giraffe's height is an evolutionary adaptation that allows it to feed from tall trees and other sources of vegetation. The long tongue of the giraffe, which can grow to 21 inches in length, is a similar adaptation designed for reaching difficult spots.

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Why are giraffes so tall?
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Full Answer

Giraffes can grow up to 19 feet in height and weigh nearly 3,000 pounds. While the giraffe's height is advantageous for eating and searching for predators, it also poses difficulty when the animal needs to drink from a watering hole. When kneeling, a giraffe must splay its legs, making the giraffe vulnerable to predators such as lions and crocodiles. Despite this, giraffes rarely need to drink and derive most of their water from vegetation.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Do giraffes have teeth?

    A:

    Giraffes have 32 powerful teeth that they use to grind and chew up food, such as leaves and twigs. However, their teeth are positioned at the back of their skull and not the front of their mouth. Humans can feed giraffes without concern of being bitten.

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  • Q:

    Why are giraffes endangered?

    A:

    The giraffe, or giraffa camelopardalis, is endangered due to habitat loss, the breaking up of habitat areas, the lack of suitability in existing habitats, poaching and new human population growth. Giraffes need to find habitats that protect them from poachers, offer solid food and fluid resources, do not have an abundance of predators and provide an overall stable environment.

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  • Q:

    How long do giraffes live?

    A:

    Giraffes can live as long as 25 years on the open grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa and up to 30 years in captivity. However, infant mortality is high among giraffes. Approximately 50 percent of giraffe calves do not survive past six months.

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  • Q:

    Why do giraffes have long necks?

    A:

    Giraffes have long necks in order to reach leaves, fruits and flowers high up in trees. They feed on broad-leafed trees in the rainy seasons and on evergreen trees in other seasons. Their long necks allow them to reach leaves that other animals cannot.

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