The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. The giraffe's scientific name, which is similar to its antiquated English name of camelopard, refers to its irregular patches of color on a light background, which bear a token resemblance to a leopard's spots. The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb) while the average mass for an adult female is 830 kilograms (1,800 lb). It is approximately 4.3 metres (14 ft) to 5.2 metres (17 ft) tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 6 metres (20 ft).
The giraffe is related to other even-toed ungulates, such as deer and cattle, but is placed in a separate family, the Giraffidae, consisting of only the giraffe and its closest relative, the okapi. Its range extends from Chad in Central Africa to South Africa. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. However, when food is scarce they will venture into areas with denser vegetation. They prefer areas with plenty of acacia growth. They will drink large quantities of water when available, which enables them to live for extended periods in dry, arid areas. The giraffe's fur also works as a chemical defence, and is full of antibiotics and parasite repellents which gives the animal a characteristic scent. Old males are sometimes nicknamed "stink bulls". There are at least eleven main smelly chemicals in the fur, although it is indole and 3-methylindole which is responsible for most of their smell. Because the males have a stronger odour than the females, it is also assumed that it has a sexual function as well.