Zoo Animals

Detroit Zoo - Giraffes
Detroit Zoo - Giraffe

Reticulated giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata

At the Detroit Zoo
A female reticulated giraffe calf named Zawadi was born August 6, 2016, to mom Kivuli and dad Jabari. Her name means “gift” in Swahili – one of the languages of East Africa where reticulated giraffes are found. The calf also joins big brother Mpenzi (Swahili for “love”), born September 30, 2014.  The giraffe family can be found roaming their Egyptian-themed home next to the Grevy’s zebras in the African Grasslands. 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 Encounter, an elevated viewing platform overlooking their habitat, puts guests at eye-level with the Zoo’s tallest creatures. Visitors may purchase tickets to hand-feed these gentle giants from the Giraffe Encounter deck at designated feeding times in the warm-weather months. In the winter months, the giraffes can be seen indoors.

Description
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.

Fun Facts

  • 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).