Giraffes are inhabitants of open country, and owing to their length of neck and long flexible tongues are enabled to browse on tall trees, mimosas being favourites.
Although in late Tertiary times widely spread over southern Europe and India, giraffes are now confined to Africa south of the Sahara.
A few elephants, giraffes and zebras (equus burchelli - the true zebra is extinct) are still found in the north and north-eastern districts and in the same regions lions and leopards survive in fair numbers.
The ancient Greeks and Romans kept in captivity large numbers of such animals as leopards, lions, bears, elephants, antelopes, giraffes, camels, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses, as well as ostriches and crocodiles, but these were destined for slaughter at the gladiatorial shows.
At one time London was able to supply many Continental gardens with giraffes, and Dublin and Antwerp have had great successes with lions, whilst antelopes, sheep and cattle, deer and equine animals are always to be found breeding in one collection or another.
OKAPI, the native name of an African ruminant mammal (Ocapia johnstoni), belonging to the Giraffidae, or giraffe-family, but distinguished from giraffes by its shorter limbs and neck, the absence of horns in the females, and its very remarkable type of colouring.
The tail is shorter than in giraffes, and not tufted at the tip. The okapi, of which the first entire skin sent to Europe was received in England from Sir H.
His food consists of all the larger herbivorous animals of the country in which he resides - buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, giraffes or even young elephants or rhinoceroses.
Pecus, cattle), a term employed - in a more restricted sense - in place of the older title Ruminantia, to designate the group of ruminating artiodactyle ungulates represented by oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes, deer, giraffes, &c. The leading characteristics of the Pecora are given in some detail in the article Artiodactyla; but it is necessary to allude to a few of these here.
In the giraffes the separation of the horns from the skull may be a degenerate character.
From the fact that the bony horn-core of the hollow-horned ruminants first develops as a separate ossification, as do the horns of the giraffe, while the pedicle of the antlers of the deer grow direct from the frontal bone, it has been proposed to place the hollow-horned ruminants (inclusive of the prongbuck) and the giraffes in one group and the deer in another.
This arrangement has the disadvantage of separating the deer from the giraffes, to which they are evidently nearly related; but Dr Gadow's work brings them more into line.
In the Giraffidae, which include not only giraffes (Giraffa) but also the okapi (Ocapia) and a number of extinct species from the Lower Pliocene Tertiary deposits of southern Europe, Asia and North Africa, the appendages on the skull are of type No.
The giraffes (Giraffa) are now an exclusively African genus, and have long legs and neck, and three horns - a single one in front and a pair behind - supplemented in some instances with a rudimentary pair on the occiput.
The nobles hunt antelopes with leopards, and giraffes and ostriches with horse and greyhound.
Possibly, however, its birthplace may prove to be Africa; if so, we shall have a case analogous to that of the African elephant, namely that while giraffes flourished during the Pliocene in Asia (where they may have originated), they survive only in Africa.
One of the leopards licked her hands, and the man in charge of the giraffes lifted her up in his arms so that she could feel their ears and see how tall they were.
How long, pray, would a man hunt giraffes if he could?