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Which Are the Tallest Mammals?

1. If your first guess for the tallest mammal was the giraffe… Congratulations! You’re absolutely right. A full-grown animal can attain a height of 6.1 meters or 20 feet.

Giraffes live in the central, eastern and southern areas of Africa where they roam through the trees and across the open plains in herds. Their long necks enable then to eat the leaves from trees.

They can go without water for several days, drawing moisture from the leaves which they consume.

In the wild, they can live about 25 years.

2. The second tallest mammal is the African Elephant. It measures 3 to 4 meters (10-13 feet) tall at the shoulder. It is the heaviest of the land mammals and males may weigh up to 6,400 kilograms or 14,000 pounds.

Herds of these elephants are found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are herbivores and they eats all types of vegetation: grasses, leaves, fruit and bark. They will be found in forests, grasslands, and semi-desert areas.

An African elephant may live up to 70 years.

3. The white rhinoceros is the third tallest land mammal. It can be found in the grasslands and woodlands of Africa. Water is important to the rhinos because they have no sweat glands and must drink or wallow in it to keep cool.

A white rhinoceros may measure up to 1.8 meters tall ( 6 feet) at the shoulder and weigh about 3,629 kilograms (8,000 pounds). These herbivores and love to graze on juicy, green grass.

Rhinos have two horns on their snouts with which they fight their enemies: lions, tigers and hyenas.

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They are among the most endangered species on earth, because poachers kill them and steal the horns to sell for medicinal purposes.

4. The fourth tallest mammal is the African buffalo, which grows up to 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) high at the shoulder and weighs over 450 kilograms ( about 1,000 pounds).

Large herds of these buffalo can be found from the mountainous regions to the swamps, floodplains, grasslands and forests of Africa, but like the rhinoceros, they must be near a source of water.

They eat tall, course grasses, and the herd keeps moving to find fresh supplies. Their only enemy is man, although a group of lions can sometimes bring a buffalo down.

They live about 20 years in the wild.

5. The fifth tallest land mammal is the moose. It lives in the northern regions of North America and Europe. In the warm weather, it is found near lakes and marshes; in winter it grows a thicker, dark brown coat and moves to forested areas.

An average adult moose stands 1.8 -2.1 meters (6-7 feet) high at the shoulders. It has long legs, large hooves, a humped back and a short tail. Males have a large rack of antlers which they use for fighting and for protection. In late Fall, the antlers fall off and new ones grow.

Moose are herbivores. They eat twigs, roots, bark, and shoots of woody plants. In summer, they feed mostly on water plants such as the water lily and pond weed. They can live up to 25 years.

Their predators are human hunters, bears and wolves.

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These then, are the world’s tallest mammals. It is interesting to note that, while humans are may be shorter, smaller and physically weaker, we are capable of stalking, hunting, capturing or killing all of them.

As the most intelligent species, we have an important responsibility: we must safeguard and protect the diversity of wildlife which exists on earth. We have watched, enjoyed and learned from them. It is up to us to ensure that future generations will have the same privilege.