The giraffe stands out among animals like a sky-scraper among buildings. It is by far the tallest of all animals. There are no taller living things in the world except trees.

A full-grown male giraffe ("bull") may reach a height of nineteen feet or more. Eighteen feet is not an unusual height for giraffes. This is three times as tall as a tall man. The female giraffe ("cow") is not quite so tall.

The great height of the giraffe is due to its very long slender legs and its extremely long neck. The legs are tall enough for a man to pass between them without bending his head. The remark- able thing about the neck is that al- though it is extremely long, it only has the usual seven neck-bones (vertebrae), the same as that of a little mouse!

The body is short and slopes sharply down to the tail, which ends in a tuft of hair.

A giraffe has two moderate-sized ears, and between them a pair of short horns. There is also a third bony projection a little lower down on the skull.

The giraffe has large beautiful dark- brown eyes, and long lashes. The animal can close its nostrils completely. This keeps out sand, which is often raised by wind in the dry, arid country where the giraffe lives.

The giraffe has keen smell, hearing and sight, but hardly any voice, which it seldom uses. Giraffes in zoos have been heard to utter a so t moo.

A giraffe's lips are long and hairy. They are particularly suited for grasping leaves and twigs from trees, on which it feeds. It has a long tongue, which it can extend up to eighteen inches. The neck has a short mane.

Aside from being the tallest animal in the world, the giraffe comes close to being the third biggest in bulk, competing with the rhino for this honor. A large bull giraffe weighs two tons. A cow is two or three feet shorter than her mate, and weighs about 1,200 pounds.

Giraffes are sociable creatures, but the herds are never large, rarely consisting of more than ten or fifteen. These herds are cows with their calves and usually only one full-grown bull.

Giraffes can be found only in Africa, which is the only place where they live wild. They can be seen, of course, in zoological parks and gardens, where they are among the most interesting attractions. The common giraffe is found over most of Africa south of the Sahara. It is the "spotted" or "blotched" variety, which used to be known as the camel pard, because it has many characteristics of a camel, and is spotted, as a leopard is. In East Africa there lives the more handsome variety, the so-called Reticulated or Netted Giraffe. This creature has large, four-sided, dark-brown spots, separated by a network of white lines.

In open country, when it is attacked or alarmed, the giraffe can speed along at thirty-two miles an hour. It runs with a fast rocking gallop like that of a camel. It also paces gracefully like a camel, with the legs on the same side of the body moving simultaneously. This produces an even, swaying motion like the roll of a ship riding the waves.

The giraffe's main enemy, besides man, is the lion. But even the "king of the animals" will attack only under certain conditions. First, the lion must be very hungry. Second, .a single lion would not undertake to attack a full-grown giraffe; but two or more lions have been known to kill a mature bull. Finally, lions will strike only when the giraffe is in an awkward position, when reaching down to drink. At such times, the giraffe has to spread the forelegs wide apart before its mouth can reach the water level. (See picture). Normally, the giraffe's best protection is in its long and swift legs. But when put to the test it can be a dangerous opponent, for it can strike a smashing blow with its head, or deliver a fatal kick with its fore and hind legs. Its horns, however, are hardly a serious weapon, for they are rounded and padded at the tip, and do not penetrate.

However, the giraffe will use its force only in self-defense. Otherwise it is a quiet and harmless creature, somewhat shy, but tame and friendly.

The giraffe is fond of dry and open brush country. Deep forests and swampy land are equally distasteful to it. Trees, especially the acacia tree, are important to its livelihood. Fortunately, the acacia tree is plentiful in Africa. Its leaves and shoots are the giraffe's favorite food. Moreover, against the background of acacia trees, the markings on a giraffe resemble blotches of shadow and light- good camouflage for this tall animal. The giraffe cannot graze on the ground, except with difficulty, the same difficulty it has with drinking. But the Creator has been kind to the giraffe, enabling it to do without water for quite a while- several weeks, even a month. The giraffe gets its water from leaves. But where water is readily available, it drinks when it feels like it.

A baby giraffe is about five and one- half feet tall at birth. Twenty minutes after birth, it is already able to stand, on its own feet and move around, though a little unsteadily at first. The baby giraffe is dependent on its mother's milk for about nine months. After this it is tall enough to reach the branches of the acacia tree and feed itself.

Like all other young creatures, the baby giraffe loves to play and frolic. In a herd where there are several calves in the "kindergarten," they are supervised by two or three watchful guardians. Their duty is to keep the youngsters from straying too far afield where they might be an easy prey for lions. If a daring youngster strays too far, one of the guardians will gallop off to bring it back to the fold.

The giraffe is a cud-chewing animal, and its feet have cloven hoofs. Thus it possesses the two signs, or characteristics, which would make it a kosher animal. But a shochet would have a hard task, perhaps an impossible one, to carry out the shechitah of this sky-scraper animal. But we cannot identify it with certainty by name among the ten kosher animals listed in the Sidrah Re'eh.