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Spectacularly tall, the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) has a very long neck with a short, upstanding mane, and high shoulders that slope steeply to the hindquarters. The legs are also long. The giraffe’s neck is made up of the same number of neck bones (vertebrae) as most mammals, including humans, but they are much larger and linked by ball and socket joints for improved flexibility. The specific name of the giraffe comes from the Latin ‘camelopardalis’, meaning ‘camel marked like a leopard’, owing to their buff background with brown blotches, which helps to camouflage them in the dappled light and shade patterns created by the trees they feed on.

Giraffe Subspecies

Roles

Gallery

Is a Crocodile a Reptile?

Animal Alphabet

Books

Usborne World Wildlife: Grassland Wildlife

Costumes

See Also