Interesting facts about the giraffe

For obvious reasons, giraffes are the tallest animals in the world. With an eternal neck like that, no wonder, you might say!!! It almost seems as if they come from another planet…

Apart from its unmistakably long and unusual neck, what do you really know about the giraffe??? Any ideas? Why don’t we find out together…

Its Tongue

Thankfully the giraffe’s tongue is not as imposing as its neck, yet it is still worth mentioning (around 45 cm). Why that long? Well, you see, the animal’s favorite food comes from the acacia tree.

For most animals acacia leaves are unattainable due to the huge thorns on the tree (several centimeters long; trust me you wouldn’t want to get those anywhere near you).

For the giraffe however, this is no issue whatsoever. Thanks to its prehensile lip and tongue it can maneuver a way around thorns to reach its treat. Et voilà! Easy, huh?! 😉

The tongue’s colour is also quite intriguing. It has a distinctive purple bluish colour, which acts as natural sunscreen!

Masai giraffe eating from an acacia tree!

Masai giraffe eating from an acacia tree.

Its Neck

A long neck is extremely advantageous to reach the highest leaves from trees. Do you know how many bones form a giraffe’s neck? 20…30…50…NOT EVEN CLOSE!

Let me give you a hint: how many vertebrae do we have in our neck?

If you’re still wondering the answer’s 7…exactly the same as the giraffe! Amazing, isn’t it?! Of course giraffe vertebrae are just a little larger (up to 25 cm long), and heavier than ours. 🙂

Its Unique Pattern

Giraffes have a superb patterned skin that looks slightly like burnt pop corn! They are a beauty to watch, and their coat is like no other…perhaps the only animal that could rival its originality would be the leopard!

Yummy popcorn :)

Yummy popcorn 🙂

Hello world

The gestation period for the animal is around 15 months, and they usually breed all year round. Only one calf is born at a time (twins are extremely rare).

Like most births it can be quite traumatizing for the new being. Nonetheless, for baby giraffe in particular it’s a very uncharacteristic welcome; the calf makes a 1.8 m plunge onto the ground.

Hard to imagine, right? While the fall does not hurt the calf, it enables it to take its first deep breath.

After as little as an hour, the baby is up and running as if nothing had just happened! Truly fascinating!!!

Male versus Female


– Larger than female (up to 5.7 m in height; females +/- 60 cm shorter).

– Heavier (973-1395 kg).

– Darker skin as the individual matures.

– Larger and longer horns on the head (up to 5”/13 cm); the horns get bold over time because of fights.

– Single medial horn on the forehead, and a bump over each eye socket and behind each ear.

An old male!

An old male!


– Smaller (700 kg on average; 4-5 m in height).

– Lighter skin.

– The cow’s horns turn inwards and are well tufted.

A female giraffe has a lighter skin!

The female giraffe has lighter skin!


There is only one giraffe species, but several subspecies (9 in total). What distinguishes them from one another is the area they live in, their diet, and the variety of patterns on the skin.

The most common subspecies is the Masai giraffe which mainly inhabits the regions of Kenya and Tanzania.

Other types include the Rothschild’s giraffe (western Kenya), and the prettiest of them all: the Reticulated type. The latter has an incredible coat pattern, with crisp liver-coloured geometric patches!


Giraffes have very few predators because of their size and fearful kick that can kill almost instantly!

They are most vulnerable while drinking, as they have to lean forward to reach the water. Lions prey on giraffe during that time, as well as large crocodiles.

On some occasions hyenas may also go for them, although they will only target young ones.

Watch out!!!

Slow Motion

Have you ever watched a giraffe running? They can achieve speeds of almost 60 kph yet it feels like they’re advancing in slow motion! Very funny to watch!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses to Interesting facts about the giraffe

  1. Vinny April 28, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    I found this REALLY helpful…

    Thanks a lot for the hard work and time you put into this 🙂

  2. Leon May 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm #


    I heard that giraffes don’t have eyelids (or have eyelids, but they don’t blink), but their tongue is long enough to lick clean and also moisturize the eye. Is this true? Regards

    • Africafreak May 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      Hi Leon,

      Where did you get this info? 🙂 Giraffes do indeed have a VERY LONG tongue, so they could probably do it…though I’ve never heard (nor seen) any of this before (and I’d be EXTREMELY surprised if I did)! But hey, who knows… 😉

      Anyone who’s seen this with their own eyes??? If so, we REALLY want to hear your story… 🙂



  3. Rachel January 22, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    I just want to know what it eats for my report. GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • africafreak January 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Rachel!

      What's the "gosh" about? 🙂 Are you struggling with your report?

      If you had read the article properly, you'd have noticed I mentioned something about Acacia leaves…there you have it! Giraffes mainly eat acacia leaves, but will also feed on grass and fruit. They sometimes even eat tree thorns! 😉

      Hope this helps and that your report will be a success…



      • Allison April 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

        I have to ask you something. How tall do giraffes get and how much do they eat?

        • Africafreak April 27, 2010 at 11:19 am #

          Hey Allison,

          Great question, although if you look carefully it’s been answered in the article! 😉

          Giraffes can reach a size of about 5.7 m in height (+/- 18 feet), and can weigh up to 1395 kg (3000 pounds). The record size for an old bull is currently 5.87 m and almost 2000 kg. Not bad, huh? 🙂

          How much do they eat? Hmmh, tough question…some say it can eat up to 63 kg of leaves and twigs on a daily basis, although it is hard to measure the stats…



    • Allison April 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

      They eat leaves and other things like fruit . HAHAHA they are cute…

Leave a Reply

FREE Safari Tips

Join our FREE Safari Tips newsletter and receive your "5 Essential Ingredients for an Unforgettable African Safari" eBook copy.

Your Free eBook is on the way! Thank you.