Giraffe

Majestic African Herbivore with an Impressive Long Neck, Striking Spotted Coat, and Graceful Demeanour

5.5m

Tall

50cm

Long tongue

20

Year lifespan

Population

117,000

Vulnerability Factor

Vulnerable

Activity period

Diurnal

Diet

Herbivorous

Discover Giraffes, iconic creatures known for their exceptional height, long necks, and distinctive spotted coats.

Giraffes are fascinating animals that inhabit the savannas and grasslands of Africa. They are the tallest living land mammals, with adult males reaching heights of up to 5.5 meters (18 feet). Their long necks, which can be over 2 meters (6.5 feet) in length, allow them to browse leaves from tall trees that other herbivores cannot reach. With their unique coat pattern of irregular brown patches on a lighter background, giraffes are instantly recognizable and a favourite subject of wildlife enthusiasts.

Find them at the following tours

Our carefully crafted tours offer the perfect opportunity to witness a diverse array of magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. Join us on these remarkable journeys to see this animal, and let the magic of the animal kingdom unfold before your eyes.
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Giraffe Overview

Overview

Giraffes possess several remarkable features that make them captivating to observe and photograph. Their elongated necks and graceful movements create stunning visual compositions in the African landscape. The contrasting patterns of their coat, with variations in colour and shape of the spots, provide endless opportunities for artistic wildlife photography.

While giraffes are not considered rare, their impressive stature and distinct appearance make them a sought-after subject for photographers. Capturing close-up shots of their expressive eyes, intricate patterns, and long eyelashes can result in striking images that showcase their beauty and elegance. Additionally, photographing giraffes in their natural habitat, whether they are feeding from tall trees or gracefully walking across the plains, offers a glimpse into their interaction with the environment.

Giraffes are primarily herbivores, feeding on leaves, shoots, and twigs from a variety of trees and shrubs. Their long, agile tongues and prehensile lips help them strip the foliage with precision. Photographers can document their feeding behaviour, including the stretching of their necks and their skilled manoeuvring among branches, highlighting their remarkable adaptations.

Although giraffes are relatively abundant across sub-Saharan Africa, they face threats such as habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict. As a result, capturing images that celebrate their beauty and raise awareness about their conservation is crucial.

Giraffe Overview

Key facts

  • Giraffes are the tallest land animals, with males growing up to 5.5 meters (18 feet) in height and weighing around 1,200 kilograms (2,600 pounds).
  • Their long necks, which contain the same number of vertebrae as humans (seven), allow them to reach leaves at heights that other animals cannot.
  • Giraffes have distinctive coat patterns that vary among individuals and subspecies, with patches ranging in colour from orange and brown to lighter shades.
  • They have a unique way of drinking water, needing to splay their front legs and lower their long necks to reach the ground.
  • Giraffes are social animals and often live in loose herds, forming temporary associations with other individuals.
  • Their primary predators are lions, which typically target young or weak giraffes. Adult giraffes defend themselves by delivering powerful kicks.
  • Giraffes communicate through a variety of behaviours, including necking (males engaging in combat by swinging their necks and heads), and infrasound vocalizations that are too low for humans to hear.
  • Female giraffes give birth standing up, resulting in a considerable drop for the newborn, encouraging it to take its first breath and stand up quickly.
  • Giraffes have extremely long tongues, measuring up to 45 centimetres (18 inches) in length, which they use to strip leaves from branches.
  • Despite their towering height, giraffes have only seven neck vertebrae, similar to other mammals.

Types and Habitats

Giraffes are divided into several subspecies, including the Masai giraffe, reticulated giraffe, Rothschild’s giraffe, and the endangered West African giraffe. Each subspecies has distinct patterns and colouration variations on its coat.

Giraffes inhabit various habitats across Africa, including savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and open plains. They are well-adapted to both arid and lush environments, allowing them to thrive in diverse ecosystems. Giraffes are primarily herbivores, feeding on leaves, twigs, and buds from tall trees using their long necks and prehensile tongues.

FAQ

Explore the Fascinating World of This Animal Through These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Giraffes can reach heights of up to 5.5 meters (18 feet) tall, with males being taller than females.

Giraffes are known for their exceptionally long necks, unique spotted coat patterns, and the ossicones (horn-like structures) on their heads.

A giraffe’s tongue can grow up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) long, allowing them to grasp and strip leaves from branches.

Yes, giraffes can make a variety of sounds including snorting, grunting, hissing, and even a flute-like noise called “blatting.”

Giraffes are generally social animals and live in loose herds, but their social structure is not as tight-knit as some other species. They often gather in temporary groups based on food availability.

The gestation period for a giraffe is around 14 to 15 months, one of the longest among land mammals.

Giraffes’ main predators include lions, hyenas, and crocodiles. However, their large size and powerful kicks are effective defence mechanisms.

Giraffes are capable of swimming, but they rarely do so. Their long legs and body proportions make swimming difficult and less necessary for their survival.

Giraffes have an average lifespan of around 20 to 25 years in the wild, although some individuals have been known to live longer.

While giraffes are currently not classified as endangered, certain subspecies, such as the West African giraffe, are critically endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. Conservation efforts are essential to protect these magnificent creatures.

Giraffes have to spread their front legs and bend down awkwardly to drink water from rivers or lakes due to their long necks and legs.

Yes, giraffes can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour) when running, making them surprisingly swift despite their size.