Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
At the Detroit Zoo
The African Grasslands is home to three reticulated giraffes – Mpenzi, his mom Kivuli and his dad Jabari. Mpenzi means “love” in Swahili – one of the languages of East Africa where reticulated giraffes are found. Jabari (Swahili for “brave one”) seems curious and frequently explores the habitat. Kivuli (Swahili for “shadow”), is the more reserved of the two adults. The giraffe family can be found next to the Grevy’s zebras in the African Grasslands. The Giraffe Encounter, an elevated viewing platform overlooking their habitat, puts guests at eye level with the tallest creatures at the Zoo. Visitors may purchase tickets to hand-feed these gentle giants from the Giraffe Encounter deck at designated feedings times in the warm weather months. 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.
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).