Giraffes live primarily in savanna areas in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Their extreme height allows them to eat leaves and shoots located much higher than other animals can reach. In particular, they seek out acacia trees. Their long tongues are helpful in eating because they help pull leaves from the trees. Spending most of the day eating, a full-grown giraffe consumes over 45 kg (100 lb.) of leaves and twigs a day. The male giraffe is both taller and heavier than the female. Both sexes have skin-covered knobs, called ossicones, on the top of their heads. Female ossicones are smaller and have a small tuft of fur on top, while male ossicones are bald on the top. These knobs are used to protect the head when males fight, which involves swinging their necks at each other in a show of strength called “necking.”
Giraffes have beautiful spotted coats. While no two individuals have exactly the same pattern, giraffes from the same area appear similar. Up until recently, the consensus has been there is only one species of giraffe with multiple subspecies. In 2016, some scientists released a study that claims genetic differences among giraffe populations indicate the existence of four distinct giraffe species.