Giraffes are the tallest terrestrial animal. The color pattern varies and can be used to identify individuals. The spots on this subspecies resemble leaves with their uneven outline. 6 feet tall at birth, they grow up to 18 feet in height. The neck has a short mane and the tail is tipped with a tuft of hair. As with most mammals, giraffes have 7 cervical vertebrae; they are greatly elongated.
The decline in wild populations is attributed to excessive hunting and climatic changes. Cooperative management of this species falls under a Species Survival Plan (SSP).
May occur throughout the year. Gestation is 14 months. Usually, one calf is born. The 6-foot tall newborn calf stands within 20 - 40 minutes of birth and will suckle within an hour. A calf may nurse for 13 months and remain with its mother for another 2 to 5 months. Sexual maturity is reached at 3.5 years in females and 4.5 years in males. Females attain full adult size in 5 years and males in 7 years.
The pair of Maasai Giraffe at the Ellen Trout Zoo has produced two calves and is expecting a third in the next year. This subspecies of giraffe is relatively uncommon in zoos so offspring are relocated to other zoos to be paired with suitable mates.