The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Its species name refers to its camel-like shape and its leopard-like colouring. Its chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. The nine subspecies are distinguished by their coat patterns.

The giraffe has intrigued various cultures, both ancient and modern, for its peculiar appearance, and has often been featured in paintings, books, and cartoons. It is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Least Concern, but has been extirpated from many parts of its former range, and some subspecies are classified as Endangered. Nevertheless, giraffes are still found in numerous national parks and game reserves.

The name "giraffe" has its earliest known origins in the Arabic word zarafah ([font=Times New Roman]زرافة[/font]), perhaps borrowed from an African language. The name is translated as "fast-walker". There were several Middle English spellings, such as jarraf, ziraph, and gerfauntz. The word possibly was derived from the animal's Somali name geri.The Italian form giraffa arose in the 1590s. The modern English form developed around 1600 from the French girafe

Fully grown giraffes stand 5[font=Times New Roman]–[/font]6 m (16[font=Times New Roman]–[/font]20 ft) tall, with males taller than females.The average weight is 1,192 kg (2,628 lb) for an adult male and 828 kg (1,825 lb) for an adult female with maximum weights of 1,930 kg (4,250 lb) and 1,180 kg (2,600 lb) having been recorded for males and females, respectively. Despite its long neck and legs, the giraffe's body is relatively short.:66 Located at both sides of the head, the giraffe's large, bulging eyes give it good all-round vision from its great height.:25 Giraffes see in colour:26 and their senses of hearing and smell are also sharp. The animal can close its muscular nostrils to protect against sandstorms and ants.:27 The giraffe's prehensile tongue is about 50 cm (20 in) long. It is purplish-black in colour, perhaps to protect against sunburn, and is useful for grasping foliage, as well as for grooming and cleaning the animal's nose. The upper lip of the giraffe is also prehensile and useful when foraging. The lips, tongue, and inside of the mouth are covered in papillae to protect against thorns.

A giraffe has only two gaits: walking and galloping. Walking is done by moving the legs on one side of the body at the same time, then doing the same on the other side. When galloping, the hind legs move around the front legs before the latter move forward, and the tail will curl up. The animal relies on the forward and backward motions of its head and neck to maintain balance and the counter momentum while galloping. The giraffe can reach a sprint speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), and can sustain 50 km/h (31 mph) for several kilometres.

The giraffe has an extremely elongated neck, which can be up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length, accounting for much of the animal's vertical height.:29 The long neck results from a disproportionate lengthening of the cervical vertebrae, not from the addition of more vertebrae. Each cervical vertebra is over 28 cm (11 in) long.:71 They comprise 52[font=Times New Roman]–[/font]54 percent of the length of the giraffe's vertebral column, compared with the 27[font=Times New Roman]–[/font]33 percent typical of similar large ungulates, including the giraffe[font=Times New Roman]’[/font]s closest living relative, the okapi. This elongation largely takes place after birth, as giraffe mothers would have a difficult time giving birth to young with the same neck proportions as adults. The giraffe's head and neck are held up by large muscles and a nuchal ligament, which are anchored by long dorsal spines on the anterior thoracic vertebrae, giving the animal a hump.

Humans have interacted with giraffes for millennia. The San people of southern Africa have medicine dances named after some animals; the giraffe dance is performed to treat head ailments. How the giraffe got its height has been the subject of various African folktales, including one from eastern Africa which explains that the giraffe grew tall from eating too many magic herbs. Giraffes were depicted in art throughout the African continent, including that of the Kiffians, Egyptians and Meroë Nubians. The Kiffians were responsible for a life-size rock engraving of two giraffes that has been called the "world's largest rock art petroglyph". The Egyptians gave the giraffe its own hieroglyph, named 'sr' in Old Egyptian and 'mmy' in later periods. They also kept giraffes as pets and shipped them around the Mediterranean.

The giraffe is really the long and the short of it, no nonsense, say what you mean and mean what you say. Sincerity and honesty are what you try to achieve and instill in others. I can reach where others only dream to go and yet i am humble and grateful that i can reach such heights and i do not take it for granted. I am different and i am blessed for the difference.

I may be tall but i am also vulnerable because of my height, my grace and my beauty make me a target for prey. I can see in colour but sometimes i find it hard to see in black and white i would rather be in the clouds than walking on the ground. I can do both at once, reach for the stars and yet still keep my feet on the ground. Once i am pulled down to the ground however it is my greatest asset that prevents me from fleeing and getting up again. Being tall and graceful under these circumstances is indeed bitterweet. What makes me unique is also what makes me weak.

Yet is alright to be weak, sometimes trying to be strong always can wear a person out. We need sometimes to take the outstretched hand that is being offered to us, it is not that we are a victim, it is to allow someone else to feel like they can help us. Being independent and looking after everyone else is very worthy but maybe let others feel worthy sometimes also.

You have many gifts that are not of this world. Sometimes this can make you feel like you do not belong, that you are too different. As you grow with wisdom you will see that you are blessed to be different and embrace your difference with pride and joy. When two giraffes meet they do what is called necking, when two humans meet they kiss or shake hands. They are all very different gestures but the meaning behind the gestures are the same. You will find the meaning for the difference if you have not already found it.

The giraffe has two gaits walking and galloping you also have two gaits, from peaceful and calm to periods of lament and tears. You are a very sensitive and beautiful soul. The world can be a harsh place for souls such as this sometimes. The refuge of the wild is always calling to you but you have learned that just like the seasons everything will pass in time.The wild will always be there maybe just not as often as you would like. You can always go there in your mind if not in the physical real time.

The Camelopardalis constellation lies in the northern hemisphere. Its name comes from the Latin derivation of the Greek word for [font=Times New Roman]"[/font]giraffe.[font=Times New Roman]"[/font]Taken apart, the word camelopardalis means camel (Greek kam[font=Times New Roman]ē[/font]los) and leopard (pardalis). You are drawn to the constellation and the mysteries of the universe. The duality of existence is your constant companion and your greatest adventure. When you gaze into the night sky lit up with stars you can see me among them as you can also see yourself. We are both there together it is just maybe for the moment i am just a bit taller than you.


characteristics; Lofty, vulnerable, resourceful, beauty, grace, wistful, duality, illumination, different, wilderness,humble, grounded,farsighted.

LOve cheeneka x


How the Giraffe got its Long Neck

Once upon a time there was a sad Giraffe that lived in a beautiful rain forest. He was so sad because he had a short neck.

He wished so much for a long neck so that he could reach the tasty leaves at the top of the trees. He got so sick of being teased by the nasty birds that he decided to go and look for help.

Giraffe went to ask for some help from the Wise Pig. The Wise Pig told Giraffe to keep wishing and wishing and one day it might come true. Giraffe went home and while he was walking he kept wishing and wishing that he had a long neck.

While he was walking home he didn’t see a bunch of bananas hanging on a low branch. His head went right through the bunch of bananas. Giraffe wiped his head but he still smelled like bananas and there was a banana stuck onto his head. He didn’t see a large and strong monkey up in the trees.

The monkey was looking for some bananas to eat for his tea. Then all of a sudden the monkey smelt bananas and to his amazement he saw a moving banana. He was so amazed he went to try and pull the banana off Giraffes head. The strong monkey stretched Giraffes neck until finally the banana came off. Giraffe looked around him. Everywhere he looked he saw leaves.

Giraffe was so happy he could reach all the nice leaves at the top of the trees. All the giraffes in the rain forest wanted to have long necks so they could reach up into the trees. So it became natural that giraffes have long necks.

By Sela (Room 16)
Posted by Miss Walley.


The earliest references to the qilin are in the 5th century BC Zuo Zhuan. The qilin made appearances in a variety of subsequent Chinese works of history and fiction, such as Feng Shen Bang. Emperor Wu of Han apparently captured a live qilin in 122 BC, although Sima Qian was skeptical of this.
In legend, the qilin became tiger-like after their disappearance in real life and become a stylized representation of the giraffe in the Ming Dynasty. The identification of the qilin with giraffes began after Zheng He's voyage to East Africa (landing, among other places, in modern-day Somalia). The Ming Dynasty bought giraffes from the Somali merchants along with zebras, incense, and various other exotic animals. Zheng He's fleet brought back two giraffes to Nanjing, and they were referred to as "qilins". The Emperor proclaimed the giraffes magical creatures, whose capture signaled the greatness of his power.

The identification between the qilin and the giraffe is supported by some attributes of the qilin, including its vegetarianism and quiet nature. Its reputed ability to "walk on grass without disturbing it" may be related to the giraffe's long, thin legs. Also the qilin is described as having antlers like a deer and scales like a dragon or fish; since the giraffe has horn-like "ossicones" on its head and a tessellated coat pattern that looks like scales it is easy to draw an analogy between the two creatures. The identification of qilin with giraffes has had lasting influence: even today, the same word is used for the mythical animal and the giraffe in both Korean and Japanese.

In Buddhist influenced depictions, they will refuse to walk upon grass for fear of harming a single blade, and thus are often depicted walking upon the clouds or the water. As they are divine and peaceful creature, their diets do not include flesh. They take great care when they walk to never tread on a living creature, and appear only in areas ruled by a wise and benevolent leader, which can include a household. They can become fierce if a pure person is threatened by a malicious one, spouting flames from their mouths and exercising other fearsome powers that vary from story to story.

Legends tell that qilin have appeared in the garden of the legendary Huangdi and in the capital of Emperor Yao. Both events bore testimony to the benevolent nature of the rulers. It has been told in legends that the birth of the great sage Confucius was foretold by the arrival of a qilin.

Some stories state that qilin are sacred pets (or familiars) of the deities. Therefore, in the hierarchy of dances performed by the Chinese (lion dance, dragon dance, etc.), they ranks highly; third only to the dragon and phoenix who are the highest.
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