Masai Giraffe

Masai Giraffe

Masai Giraffe – Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi


The tallest of all giraffes is the Masai species. This means they are considered to be the tallest land animal on the Earth. With a full grown height of about 19 feet, the Masai Giraffe can’t help but to be noticed. The females are usually shorter than the males so they are about 16 feet tall when they are fully grown. The weight of these giraffes has plenty of flexibility within it. For example the males can weigh from 2,000 to 3,000 pounds. The females can weigh from 1,300 to 2,000 pounds.

The spots on this particular species of giraffe are jagged compared to the others. While the males do have darker spots than the females with age, there is a very peculiar identification within each herd. The dominant male will have the darkest of all spots and it may not be that way when he first steps into his role. It is unknown what results in this physical change emerging at that point in time.

You will notice that they don’t have spots or coloring below their knees. This area is either white or a cream color. The leg part at the bottom of them is very skinny and stick like in appearance. Many people comment that they wonder how such a thin leg bone area could support the movements of a heavy animal like this.

Masai Giraffe Anatomy

The Masai Giraffe is extremely powerful due to the design of the legs and the hooves. Most predators won’t go in for the kill of an adult due to the fact that they can be killed by one swift kick. They are also very fast runners, with a top speed of around 35 miles per hour when they need to.

The design of the neck is very peculiar, and many experts have spent lots of time examining it in detail. The inside of it has valves that work so that when a giraffe bends over for water they don’t suffer brain damage due to blood rushing to the head area. This is a unique design that isn’t found in any other types of animals in the world.

Masai Giraffe characteristics

Masai Giraffe – Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

Masai Giraffe Evolution

The evolution of this species of giraffe isn’t fully known but we do have information that links them to the families of deer. There are theories about the long neck being an evolution solution for them to get to food higher up than other animals. Some experts believe this is a genetic factor that developed first and then it let those with it survive when others couldn’t reach the food sources.

Perhaps in the future we will find more information that directly links giraffes to their ancestors. Right now it is a world full of theories that are continually debated by the various sides of the issue. There isn’t much evidence to prove or even to disprove either side though.

Masai Giraffe Behavior

The Masai Giraffes live in herds that are quite a bit smaller. They seem to be very tolerant of each other for the most part, especially the females. The males tend to only be aggressive when it involves dominating the group or for mating rights. The males and females of a herd don’t interact often unless they are looking to mate.

They move around through a home territory that can span more than 50 miles. They aren’t territorial as far as other animals or other herds of giraffes being in the same location as them. They seem to form strong bonds within their herds, especially between the females.

Masai Giraffe Habitat and Distribution

These giraffes used to roam around many areas of Africa. Today though much of their natural habitat has been taken away from them. The remaining Masai Giraffes are scattered around Kenya and in Tanzania.

They are able to live in the heat of the desert as well as in some densely wooded areas. As long as they have access to plenty of food and some water they are going to be able to thrive. They seem to have a harder time getting their needs met though in the limited areas that remain for them. They do have access to some wildlife refuges out there where they are doing well though.

Facts about Maasai Giraffe or Kilimanjaro Giraffe

Masai giraffe under rainbow

Masai Giraffe Diet and Feeding Habits

Most of the hours in a day are spent on feeding for the Masai Giraffes. They are grazers and can spend from 16 to 20 hours every single day out there eating or looking for food. Thankfully, these animals only need to sleep short time in a span of 24 hours. They often do so in 10 minute increments.

They have a diverse diet that is completely made up of vegetation forms. This includes twigs, seasonal fruits, flowers, and Acacia leaves. Many of the trees where they get leaves contain thorns but their bodies are designed to handle that. They have a thick tongue and lips that allow them to reach around the thorns.

It is interesting to watch them feed from the high up trees. The males will feed from the very top branches with the females at the lower branches. These giraffes live in an area where their food has more water in it than others. That means they can actually go for several days without water.

Masai Giraffe Reproduction

The Masai Giraffe is mature for mating around four years of age. Most males never mate until they are at least seven years old though. This is due to the dominance display that they go through in order to earn that right. They will hit their necks around each other in order to show they are the dominant force. These battles can go on for 30-60 min. before one of them will walk away.

Breeding for this species of giraffe can take place any time of the year. After mating it is about 14 months later before the young are born. The females give birth while standing up and the rest of the herd lingering close by. It can take several minutes for the young to emerge from her body. The young are about 6 feet tall at birth and can be up to 200 pounds in weight.

The mortality rate for the young Masai Giraffes is as much as 75% during the first few months of life. This is because the mother will keep her young separated from the rest of the herd. Those young that survive those first couple of months will then join the herd. A nursery is developed for the young with the mothers taking turns watching out for them while the others feed. The young consume milk from their mother’s body for about the first year of life.


The main predators of these giraffes are lions and hyenas. They usually won’t talk on full grown adults due to their powerful legs and sharp hooves. Yet they often can’t resist the temptation of taking a chance on the young when they are able to.

Masai Giraffe Infographic!

masai-giraffe copia