Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)
aka Somali Giraffe

Appearance
The Reticulated Giraffe is one of three species of Giraffe in Kenya, the other two being Rothschild and Masai. The main difference between the sub-species are the pattern of dots; Reticulated Giraffe are identified by the well-defined spots resembling a jig-saw, separated by white or cream lines. The colour of the spots is reddish-chestnut and unlike the other two Kenyan species, extends down the bottom half of their legs. Each Reticulated Giraffe has a different pattern layout and as they grow older, their coats and in particular their faces, darken with age.
Reticulated Giraffe are one of the shortest of all Giraffes and males grow up to 17' (5.2 metres) tall - females 14' (4.3 metres).
See more general information regarding Giraffes.

Resident
Reticulated Giraffe are found in the northern half of Kenya, wherever there is sufficient food and water.

Longevity
A single calf (rarely, twins) is born after a gestation period of 450 days. It weighs an average of 100kg and can be 6' (2 metres) tall. It is able to walk and suckle within an hour and run within a day. Reticulated Giraffe live for up to 28 years.

Predators
The only time an adult Reticulated Giraffe is liable to be predated is when it is drinking and therefore has its forelegs bent. Mostly Lion are the predators, although occasionally Nile Crocodile take drinking Giraffe. Lion will also take young Reticulated Giraffe, although adults will protect the young with lashing hooves.
Man is also a predator of Reticulated Giraffe, hunting it for meat, hide and long tail. The hair is used to make fly whisks, bracelets and rope.

Behaviour
Reticulated Giraffe have large home ranges of up to 46 square miles (120 square kilometres), travelling all the time in herds of 4 - 30. However, herds are not stable and individuals drift between herds. Adult bulls are often solitary.
See more general information regarding Giraffes.

Diet
Reticulated Giraffes are herbivorous, preferring Acacia, although Commiphora, and Terminalia and many other leaves and fruits form their diet. Reticulated Giraffe have also been noted eating a gazelle, chewing on the bones, presumably for calcium.
Generally browsers, they eat for up to 20 hours a day, sniffing out the foods they like with sensitive noses and consuming up to 75lbs (34kg) a day. However, when their 18" (46cm) long black tongues gather food, not only leaves are harvested, but branches, bark and insects.
Reticulated Giraffe are ruminants, having four stomachs. When not actively feeding, cud is brought back to their mouths and they re-chew the hard lumps.
Most of the Reticulated Girrafe's intake of moisture comes from its food and it can survive for weeks without drinking. In the dry season, when the leaves have less moisture, they must drink more regularly, bending their forelegs to get down to water.

Other Reticulated Giraffe Facts
Giraffes have insensitive lips and tongues, allowing them to push through the thorns of an Acacia, to collect the leaves.
Giraffes have symbiotic relationships with Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers. The Oxpeckers collect troublesome ticks and mites from the Giraffe's hide, while alerting them to danger with their squawking.

Photographs
Images taken in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Animals
Subcategory:Wildlife
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:giraffe, kenya, reticulated giraffe, somali giraffe, wildlife

Reticulated Giraffes ~ Meru NP

Two Reticulated Giraffe browsing in Meru NP, Kenya.

Reticulated Giraffe ~ The Flick

A Reticulated Giraffe, feeding on Acacia leaves, flicked its tail for this photograph, taken in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Reticulated Giraffe ~ Rear

A rear view of a Reticulated Giraffe, clearly showing its markings.

Reticulated Giraffe ~ Head Portrait

A portrait of the head of a Reticulated Giraffe (aka Somali Giraffe).

Reticulated Giraffe ~ Side-on

A side view of the Reticulated Giraffe, found in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Reticulated Giraffe ~ Head Bowed

A side view of a Reticulated Giraffe, with its head bowed in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Reticulated Giraffe ~ Crossing

A Reticulated Giraffe, crossing one of the murram paths in Kenya's Meru National Park.