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The females on the other hand generally weigh no morethan 850 kg (1873 lbs). The average height of a giraffe can range anywhere between 4.3 m (14 ft) and 5.2 m (17 ft), whereby the tallest male giraffe ever recorded reached a height of almost 6 m (20 ft). In the wild giraffes have a life expectancy of around 20 years, whereas in captivity they can live as long as 30 years.
Although the giraffe is related to other ungulates, such as cattle and red deer,it in fact belongs to the giraffidae family, comprising only of itself and its closest relative, the okapi. Ruminants have a special digestive system which allows them to repeatedly regurgitate the half-digested cud back into the mouth in order to rechew it. Further digestion of the cud requires special micro-organisms that live only in the rumen. These microbes help to break down cellulose and other carbohydrates.
Giraffes inhabit the plains of African, the savannas as well as grasslands or open woodlands. When available, they drink large quantities of water which enables them to survive in hot, arid regions over extended periods of time. The forelimbs of a giraffe are about 10 percent longer than the hind legs. The giraffe can reach a sprint speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).