(Giraffa camelopardalis) The giraffe is the tallest animal
in the world and has the largest eyes of any land mammal.
Known for its spots, the Romans called the giraffe "camelopardalis,"
meaning "camel marked like a leopard." The spots
on a giraffe are much like fingerprints on humans, no two
Giraffes use their tongues and flexible upper lips to grab
acacia tree leaves, shoots, flowers and vines from the trees.
They eat approximately 75 pounds of vegetation each day, but
only drink water every 2 to 3 days if it is available and
can go for weeks without drinking any at all. When eating,
males stretch up to the food while females tend to bend down
to the food. Giraffes have four stomachs just like cows.
Although the lion is a giraffe's main threat, the giraffe's
first defense is to see, hear or smell the lion coming and
run away. It can reach speeds of up to 30 mph for short distances.
When cornered, giraffes defend themselves with kicks that
have been known to kill lions. They protect themselves by
kicking with their powerful legs and sleep standing up to
appear less vulnerable.