What Are Rothschild Giraffes?
Rothschild giraffes are a rare subspecies of giraffe, and one of three types of giraffe living in Kenya. The other two Kenyan giraffes are Masai giraffes and reticulated giraffes. All of them are endangered.
One thing that separates a Rothschild giraffe from other giraffes is the number of ossicones, or “horns”, on its head.
Most giraffes have a single pair of ossicones right between their ears. A few giraffe subspecies have a third, smaller ossicone in the middle of the forehead.
But Rothschild giraffes are born with five ossicones!
Rothschild giraffes also have two-toned spots, while most giraffes have spots that are just one color. The edges of the Rothschild giraffe’s spots are rust-colored. The centers are dark brown and get bigger with age.
Another giraffe subspecies from Kenya, the Masai giraffe, also has two-toned spots. But the Masai giraffe’s spots are brown-on-brown.
Finally, Rothschild giraffes don’t have any spots at all on their lower legs. They look like they’re wearing white knee-socks!