The tallest of all living animals is the giraffe. The giraffe is a plant eater and with its great height it can reach up to the leaves of trees to eat. The tongue can be a foot and a half long and it has also a long upper lip. Using these two, it easily wrenches mouthfuls of leaves for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The knees and hock joints are padded with calluses for resting on stony or sandy ground. This way the giraffe has no sore knee problem when it kneels to drink. The thick hide is covered with short hair, mottled brown and yellow blending in well with its natural surroundings. Giraffes usually live in small herds and chew their cud while standing erect. 


The giraffe cannot trot, but it can gallop and a horse has real trouble overtaking it. Did you know that the giraffe's flesh is used for food, the skin is used for leather and the tail tuft is used for fly brushes? The giraffe's sight and hearing are excellent and it is known for it's good-nature and gentleness but it will fight in self-defence. It can use the head like a sledgehammer to deal heavy blows. Lions, who regard giraffe meat as a delicacy, have been killed by the fatal blow of the giraffe's head swing. Giraffes used to be found across the African continent from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. Now they are confined to the plains of eastern Africa between the Sahara and the Zambezi River.


Research all you can about the giraffe and write an essay. Include pictures of giraffes, these can be hand-drawn, cut from old magazines, papers or download some from the Internet.


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