Giraffe Facts

1. Adult giraffes have legs that are six feet tall. These long legs allow them to spring as fast as 35 mph for short distances and run at 10 mph over long distances.

2. Giraffes eat their food similar to the way cows eat. They chew it, swallow it, and then regurgitate it and chew it some more, like a cud.

3. Giraffes only need to drink water once every few days because most of the water that they consume comes from the plants that they eat.

4. When a female giraffe gives birth, their baby, or calf, falls about five feet to the ground.

5. Within 10 hours of being born, a baby giraffe can run around with their mother.

6. Giraffes have four stomachs, all of which are used to help them digest their food.

7. A giraffe’s age can be determined by its spots. The darker the spots are on a giraffe, the older it is.

8. When it is first born, a baby giraffe can be as tall as six feet!

9. The giraffe is the tallest living land animal in the world.

10. The front legs on a giraffe are actually longer than their hind legs. Combined with the long neck, this makes it extremely difficult for a giraffe to bend over and reach the ground with its mouth.

11. There is only one species of the giraffe, but nine sub-species. They are the Angolan giraffe, Kordofan giraffe, Nubian giraffe, South African giraffe, West African giraffe, Reticulated giraffe, Rothschild’s giraffe, Thornicroft’s giraffe, and the Kilimanjaro giraffe.

12. Giraffes in the wild are almost exclusively found on the continent of Africa. However, you will find them in zoos in many other parts of the world.

13. A giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck as most other animals have – seven. Their vertebrae are just much larger than those of other animals in order to accommodate the long neck.

14. The horns on a giraffe’s head are called ossicones. They are basically bumps that are covered with fur.

15. The spots, or brown and yellow pattern on a giraffe’s body is like fingerprints on a human. There are not two that are exactly alike, making each giraffe very unique.

16. The tongue of a giraffe can be as long as two feet and they are a bluish-black color. They are used to wrap around the leaves on a tree so the giraffe can easily grab them for eating.

17. A giraffe is most vulnerable when it is at the watering hole getting a drink. That’s because they have to awkwardly bend down with their front legs spread out in front of them so their mouth can reach the water. This leaves them unprotected and easy prey for predators in the surrounding area.

18. In addition to being the largest animal, the giraffe’s heart is also larger than any other animal’s heart, too. This is necessary to be able to pump the blood to the head along their long necks.

19. Giraffes only get about 20 minutes of deep, sound sleep every 24 hours. However, they do take short naps throughout the day. When they sleep, they rest their head on their backside.

20. Healthy giraffes can live up to 25 years if they are in the wild.

21. One of the biggest dangers to giraffes is being hunted. People hunt giraffes for their meat, tails, and their coat.

22. Male giraffes often engage in a behavior called “necking.” This is when they hit each other’s neck with their neck in an aggressive manner. However, these encounters usually only last a couple minutes and they rarely end with one of the giraffes getting seriously hurt or injured.

23. In some religions, the giraffe is a symbol of flexibility and intuition.

24. When a female giraffe is ready to mate, she allows the male giraffes to gather around her and she watches as they fight over her. She, of course, chooses to mate with the strongest one that gets rid of the competition.

25. Giraffes have such a powerful kick that they can actually decapitate a lion if it tries to attack.