Giraffe Facts

The Giraffe is one of the most unique animals on the planet, and it has a very interesting life cycle. The gestation period for a female giraffe is about 11 months.

A baby giraffe weighs around 200 pounds when born. It takes two years before they reach adulthood. 

It is the tallest mammal, and even a newborn giraffe is taller than the average human being.

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Giraffe Facts for Kids

  • They are the tallest mammals on Earth
  • They can run up to 35 mph over short distances
  • They spend most of their time standing
  • Giraffes live for about 25 years
  • Giraffes have 2 foot-long hearts
  • A male giraffe is called a Bull
  • Babies are called Calves
  • Females are called Cows

Where do Giraffes Live?

Giraffes live in very dry climates. They inhabit grasslands, savannas, and open forests. 

They are native to Africa and can withstand the heat and extreme weather.

What do they Eat and Drink?

They eat mainly Acacia leaves and shoots, which make up the bulk of their diet. They also consume plants and vines.

Giraffes tend not to eat much grass. However, they eat a lot and can consume up to 100 lbs of twigs and leaves daily.

They spend a lot of their time searching for food during certain times of the year. Because they eat plants, they can get water from them. Since they only drink occasionally, they tend to stay away from water sources.

What does a Giraffe Look Like?

The Giraffe is the world’s tallest mammal. A male giraffe can reach 18 feet (5.5 meters), and a female can reach 14 feet (4.3 meters).

A giraffe’s legs average six feet (1.8 meters). They have the world’s longest tail.

Because of their height, their necks are too short to reach the ground. They must bend their front legs awkwardly to drink water.

Giraffe markings are unique, resembling human fingerprints. Strangely, no two giraffes have the same spots.

They weigh between 2,400 and 3,000 pounds, while females weigh between 1,600 and 2,600 pounds!

Giraffe Neck

The Giraffe has a 7-foot long neck, over half its height. Its long neck makes it appear slim, despite its powerful and sturdy physique.

They have 7 neck vertebrae, just like humans.

How long is a Giraffe Tongue 

Their tongues can reach 50 cm. They use their enormous tongues efficiently to eat leaves.

Their long tongues enable them to reach the highest leaves without thorns. A thick, robust covering protects its tongue from thorns.

Giraffes’ antiseptic saliva helps them heal quickly after being pricked by thorns.

Giraffe Hooves

They have hooves 30 cm, which allows them to maintain balance easily. They are even-toed ungulates and have two weight-bearing hooves on each foot.

Their big hooves and large legs make them powerful kickers. A single kick can and has killed lions

They also won’t sink into loose sand with those wide hooves.

Do giraffes have 2 Hearts?

Giraffes have one heart

The giraffe heart has separated ventricle lobes where human heart ventricle lobes are joined at the base. Several of his adaptations are a result of his height.

To avoid backflow, his legs are equipped with extra valves. Extra check valves in his neck protect his heart from backpressure.

When he swings the ark, the pressure reliefs on his head keep his brain from rupturing from too much fluid.

The Giraffe’s blood pressure is extremely high (280/180 mm Hg)

Giraffe Horns

A giraffe’s head has two horns on each side.

Male giraffes possess thicker, less hairy ossicones than female giraffes. Their sparring with other male giraffes explains this.

Baby Giraffe

Giraffe calves are big. They are born weighing 100 lb and nearly 2m tall.

Female Giraffes give birth to giraffes while standing up. Because the mother giraffe is so tall, the baby giraffes drop about 1.8 meters to the ground when they are born.

Giraffe calves rely on their mothers for protection.

Giraffe calves spend 1.5-2 years with their moms. They reach full maturity at 4 years. They are considered adults at 6 years of age.

Giraffe Predators 

They are big animals, as you’ve already learned from reading this article.

Male Giraffes are massive. A lion or hyena wouldn’t attack. But, a whole pride of lions has been known to attack them and be successful.

They can see lions and hyenas from afar due to their height and keen eyesight. A Giraffe’s kick could seriously injure or kill a predator.

Predators will attack baby Giraffes if the opportunity arises as they are much easier targets.

How long do Giraffes live

These magnificent creatures live for approximately 25 years in the wild and have been known to live for 40 years in captivity.

Types of Giraffes

There are a number of different types of Giraffes. These include :

Reticulated Giraffe

The Reticulated Giraffe (Somali Giraffe) is Native to Somalia and also found in Northern Kenya.

The reticulated giraffe is the most common in zoos and is by far the most well-known.

Males reach 18 feet in height and weigh more than 4000 pounds. Females reach heights of 17 feet and weigh up to 2600 pounds.

Their height and weight can be attributed in part to the giraffe’s 8-foot neck and 500-pound body.

Northern Giraffe

The Northern giraffe, also called the three-horned giraffe, is found in North Africa. Males are taller than females.

Kenya’s savannas, shrubs, and woods are natural habitats for the northern giraffe.

Northern giraffes are herbivores.

Its food consists of a variety of leaves, flowers, fruits, and shoots from woody plants.

They may eat up to 140 pounds of plants per day.

Masai Giraffe

Kenyan Masai giraffes have patterns that look like oak leaves. Like other giraffes, they eat for 16 – 20 hours a day.

In a 24-hour period, they need 5 – 30 minutes of sleep. Sometimes taking short naps of a couple of minutes.

Did you know that they can moo, hiss, roar, and whistle. They are a critically endangered subspecies of wild giraffe.

Kilimannjaro giraffe is another name for them.

They eat leaves, twigs, sprouts, flowers, fruits, and bark

Southern Giraffe

Southern giraffes have round or blotched spots with star-shaped extensions that run down to their feet.

They can be found in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

They eat leaves, flowers, shoots of woody plants, and fruits. They feed all day because they chew slowly.

Leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs are natural threats. They hunt on packs and coordinate attacks to try to knock down adults.

Sometimes crocodiles can surprisingly attack when giraffes are drinking water.

Habitat Loss

Giraffes face mounting threats from habitat loss. Habitats that support these animals are disappearing rapidly because of human development.

In fact, some scientists believe that we may lose our entire population within 30 years unless action is taken immediately.

As agricultural settlement expands, giraffes are losing their main food source, the acacia tree. 

Growing human populations, urbanization, agriculture, mining, and other extractive activities are destroying giraffe habitat and diverting it to human use.

The giraffe is one of the most unique animals on the planet. It is the tallest mammal and even a newborn giraffe is taller than the average human being.

More Super Giraffe Facts

A giraffe’s neck is longer than its body length.

The average Giraffe has a neck length of between 2.5 and 3 meters.

A giraffe’s neck is also thicker than an elephant’s trunk.

A giraffe’s tongue weighs around 10 kg. It is the heaviest part of the animal’s body.

A giraffe can eat up to 20 kilograms of leaves per day.

The official name for the giraffe is Giraffe Camelopardalis, which means ‘one who walks quickly, a camel marked like a leopard’

A giraffe’s habitat is mostly in South Africa.

Giraffes rarely lay down. Most of their life is spent in the standing position. They eat, sleep and even have their babies in the standing position.

Baby giraffes gather in nursery groups and hang out together until they are nearly five months old. They play and rest together while their mothers forage for food close by,

Giraffes sleep very little. They only sleep between ten minutes and two hours per day. They have the shortest sleeping cycle of any mammal on earth.

Giraffes are peaceful and social animals and will rarely be involved in a fight.

Males have been known to conduct an aggressive behavior called ‘necking’.

Although they hit each other in the neck, it doesn’t last long due to the possibility of injury.

Giraffes’ coloring is unique to human fingerprints. Every giraffe has a unique spot pattern.