9 Unique Giraffe Species of the World

May 26, 2023

By Sonakshi Kandhari

While thinking of a giraffe, the first thing one thinks of is that it's the world’s tallest mammal. But you might not know that the patterns on it are as unique as a human fingerprint, and two giraffes cannot have the same pattern. On the basis of colour, range and coat patterns, there are nine species of giraffe. Read this webstory to get to know them better.

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Reticulated Giraffe 

The most popular one, this giraffe, calls Somalia its home. A reddish-brown, liver-shaped pattern is etched along its body. Being a 6-footer, its neck is as long as a human being's neck, and both are made of seven bones. With their tall stature, they pluck their feed from Acacia and Combretum trees, eating around 35 kilograms of vegetation per day.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Korodofan Giraffe 

It's saddening to know only 3000 of them are remaining. Of these, half the population lives in Africa’s Zakouma National Park in Chad. Often confused for the West African giraffe, this giraffe is relatively shorter than the other ones. It is subtly patterned, with pale patches dotting its surface. Human hunters and manufacturers of luxury goods are the cause of this giraffe’s decline.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Nubian Giraffe 

This giraffe looks majestic with a chestnut-spotted coat offset against an off-white backdrop. It has long forelegs, which equip it to move at an astonishing speed of 48 kilometres per hour. One can spot this giraffe in Eastern Sudan, the Republic of Congo, or there is a solitary one in the Al Ain Zoo in the United Arab Emirates.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

South African Giraffe 

Like the rest of South Africa, even their giraffe does not cease to amaze man. Its white patterns are strewn across their tan-coloured skin. This giraffe is an herbivore strolling around in groups, which are called ‘towers’,  in search of their food. At present, there are 37,000 of them, and one can catch a sight of them both in protected and unprotected areas.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Angolan Giraffe 

This one is also called Namibian giraffe and smokey giraffe because of its light-coloured skin. Its white-coloured lining is darker and thicker in comparison to other giraffes, because of which a faded look appears towards their legs. If you wish to see this beauty up close and personal, go on a safari tour in the Etosha Park of Namibia, and you might spot one.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

West African Giraffe

These giraffes stand at a height of 6 feet and weigh 1300 kilograms. Males have thicker horns than females. Characterised by its light-coloured skin with faintly coloured spots and long, slender neck, it is a sight to behold. Hence, humans hunt them to get their possessions as pets and for their tails and meat too. Hunting and habitat loss are responsible for their decline.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Rhodesian Giraffe 

Present only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, this giraffe, also known as Thornicraft giraffe, is on the brink of extinction. This giraffe depicts rareness with yellowish checked patterns etched across its blackish-brown skin. Another unique aspect of this giraffe is that the portion beneath its knees is not patterned. It's estimated that there are only 550 of these giraffes left.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Rothschild Giraffe

Also known as the Baringo or Ugandan Giraffe, this one gets its name from the famous naturalist Lord Walter Rothschild. This chestnut-coloured giraffe has broad white lines across its body. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it has three horns instead of two. A chance encounter with this giraffe is possible in Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda; 450 out of 700 of them are in zoos.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Masai Giraffe 

Unlike other species of giraffes, this one has a star-shaped etching on its body. This pattern gives it the appearance of vine leaves or maple leaves. This giraffe has hues of brown, beige and orange. Known as the ‘Icons of the Kenyan Plains’, these giraffes are also called Kilimanjaro giraffes. It is the world’s tallest and most abundant giraffe species.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons