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Giraffe Niche

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by

hannah wallace

on 5 October 2014

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Transcript of Giraffe Niche

Giraffe Niche
Fundamental Niche (Idealized Niche)
Why a Giraffe is a Specialist
Realized Niche
Narrow range of Environmental Conditions: Giraffes can only survive in open woodland. Giraffes can not survive in a grassland where there are no trees because the task of bending down to eat grass is to much strain on the giraffes neck and legs. The giraffes also need open land so they can spot trees and predators as well as roam freely. A thick forest would not be ideal for giraffe, as they need plenty of room to maneuver.
Predators of a Giraffe
Limited Diet: Giraffes are herbivores, specifically only eating vegetation from trees. Giraffes would not be able to survive in a habitat without trees.
Interesting Giraffe Facts
Prey of a Giraffe
Giraffes have seven vertebrae just as humans do. However, each vertebrae can be over 10 inches long.
Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up. They only require between 10 to 2 hours of sleep per day, the shortest requirement of all mammals.
Giraffe's Habitat
Giraffe's Niche
Specific Adaptations of a Giraffe
Specific Adaptations of a Giraffe
Specific Adaptations of a Giraffe
The range for a giraffe's habitat is typically between 8 and 50 square miles. Giraffes need room to roam and find trees in the vast plains. Many times, giraffes habitats will overlap with each other, but giraffes get along with each other well and are fine with this.
A giraffe's niche is primarily influenced by its long neck, giving it the ability to eat where no other herbivores eat, as well as see great distances. Giraffes do not have compete with other herbivores to get their food, and therefore live in harmony with other herbivores. In fact, many animals stick close to giraffes because giraffes can see for long distances and can spot predators, such as lions, before any other animal can.
A giraffe's fundamental niche would be an extensive open wooded plain, where they could roam for days looking for trees. The giraffes would never have to bend down to eat grass, and there would be trees that bloom continuously, giving them a never-ending surplus of food. The predators of the giraffe that eat newborn giraffe would be gone.
A giraffe's realized niche consists of the spacious plains in Africa, yet sometimes the spaciousness is cut off by humans building roads through the plains. The giraffes sometimes have to compete with certain elephants for the vegetation in the trees. Baby giraffes fill the role of prey for animals such as lions and hyenas. Both giraffes and their favorite tree to eat from, acacia tree, are labeled as endangered.
Adult giraffes do not have many prey, but young giraffes are continuously prey to lions, hyenas, and leopards. Approximately 75% of young giraffes do not make it to adulthood. The biggest predator for an adult giraffe is a lion. However, giraffes can normally can fend of any predators by kicking at them with their hooves. Giraffes can see for great distances, so if any predator is spotted, a giraffe immediately runs away, sometimes running away too quickly before the predator can get to them.
A giraffe does not have any prey, as they are herbivores and do not have to compete with other herbivores for food.
A giraffe's flexible and long neck is a specific adaptation that allows it to reach tall trees to eat and avoid competing with other herbivores for vegetation. Their flexible also allows them to bend down low enough to drink water.
A giraffe's tongue is a specific adaptation that allows it to eat the food that it eats. A giraffe's tongue is 18-20 inches long so that it can reach even higher into the trees. The giraffe's tongue also has a thickened papillae (part of the tongue) that prevents it from getting scraped on the various thorns in trees.
A giraffe's ability to go long periods of time without water is another specific adaptation. Giraffes favorite tree to eat from is the acacia tree, which provides water for the giraffe through its leaves. This also allows the giraffe to not have to bend down to get water, which puts it in a vulnerable position for predators.
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