The giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Its species name refers to itscamel-like appearance and the patches of color on its fur. Its chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. The animal can close its muscular nostrils to protect against sandstorms and ants. The lips, tongue, and inside of the mouth are covered in papillae to protect against thorns.