Giraffe Facts

The word Giraffa means “one who walks swiftly”.

There are nine subspecies of giraffe: West African (G.c. peralta), Kordofan (G.c. antiquorum), Nubian (G.c. camelopardalis), Reticulated (G.c. reticulata), Rothschild (G.c. rothchildi), Masai (G.c. tippelskirchi), Thornicroft (G.c. thornicrofti) and Southern African (G.c. capensis/G.c. angolensis).

A giraffe has only two different gaits: galloping and walking.Giraffe Family

The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world.

A giraffe can reach a top speed of 35 mph when they are galloping.

In the wild, giraffes live in the African savannah, scrub, and open acacia woodlands south of the Sahara.

In the same way that human fingerprints are unique, so is the pattern on the coat of a giraffe.

The total African giraffe population has been estimated to range from 110,000 to 150,000. However, there are only a few hundred Rothschild giraffes in existence and as a consequence they are critically endangered.

Even though the giraffe has such a long neck, the giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck that most other mammals have, which totals seven.

Male giraffes weigh approximately between 1300-1700 kg (2900-3800 lb).

Female giraffes weigh approximately between 700-1182 kg (1540-2600 lb).

The height of a giraffe from the horn tips is 4.7m – 5.3m in males and 3.9m – 4.5m in females.

Traditionally mankind has honoured giraffes through the ages and their images regularly feature in African cave paintings and in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The tongue of a giraffe is approximately 18 inches in length.

Giraffe WalkingMale giraffes will often neck wrestle to establish dominance in their herds and also use their bony horns and neck for fighting.

The life span of the giraffe is approximately 25 years (28 years in captivity).

A giraffe is able to drink up to 12 gallons of water in one sitting.

Giraffes are one of the few animals in the wildlife kingdom that are born with horns.

Newborn giraffe calves begin their lives by falling 6 feet from their mothers to the ground. Statistically, only 25 to 50% of giraffe calves will reach adulthood.

A kick from an adult giraffe is strong enough to shatter the skull of a lion or break its spine.

The giraffe has one of the shortest sleep patterns of any known mammal. This lasts between ten minutes and two hours in a given 24-hour period, which averages as 1.9 hours of sleep per day.

Due to the fact that the giraffe will be typically one of the largest of all objects in a zoo, there is the unexpected danger of the animal being struck by lightning!