31 Facts About Giraffes


Towering at a height of 14-19 feet, Giraffes are extremely tall creatures! Their legs alone are taller than the average human being, allowing them to run at speeds of 37mph over short distances. Do you fancy learning about Giraffes? Keep on reading to learn 31 facts about Giraffes here today. 

Fact 1: Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world.

  • A giraffe is quite easy to spot with its distinguished features, which include an extremely long neck, long legs, horn-like ossicones, and a distinctive pattern on its coat.

Fact 2: They live in the African savannah and woodlands. 

  • They feed primarily on the acacia tree’s leaves, fruits and flowers. This works to their advantage since most herbivores can’t reach the tall acacia trees. 

Fact 3: Giraffes can sprint up to speeds of 37 mph. 

  • They generally cruise comfortably at 10 miles an hour over longer distances when not under threat.

Fact 4: A Giraffe’s heart weighs around 11 kg, making it the biggest amongst all land mammals.

  • A giraffe’s heart can pump around 60 litres of blood around its body every minute.

Fact 5: Male giraffes battle each other by butting their long necks and heads.

  • The showdown typically isn’t fatal, and the loser usually just ends up walking away. The winner gains mating access to the female.

Fact 6: Due to their height, giraffes aren’t usually preyed upon by common predators.

  • But their young may be preyed on by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs. 

Fact 7: The Giraffe population is in big trouble.

  • The giraffe population has declined 40% overall in the last 30 years, and there are now approximately 68,000 left in the wild. The remaining herds are fragmented and face a multitude of threats, from habitat loss to poaching. 

Fact 8: The name “Giraffe” means “Fast-walker” in Arabic.

  • Many years ago you spelt giraffe like this ‘Zirapha’. 

Fact 9: Full-grown giraffes are around 14-19 feet tall.

  • Males are usually taller than females.  

Fact 10: Male giraffes are called “Bulls” and females are called “Cows”.

  • Bulls on average weigh about 1,192 kg, while cows weigh about 828 kg. 

Fact 11: Giraffes surprisingly have short bodies.

  • There is no specific reason for this. 

Fact 12: Much like human fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same patterns on their coats.

  • Researchers have found out that it’s possible to recognize individual giraffes by looking at their coat patterns.

Fact 13: They have keen senses and can see in colour. 

  • Giraffes have a sharp sense of smell and hearing. They can also close their muscular nostrils to protect themselves from ants and sandstorms.  

Fact 14: Giraffes possess an 18-inch long prehensile tongue.

  • Their tongue’s purplish-black in colour, and is useful for gripping foliage, as well as for grooming/cleaning the animal’s nose.

Fact 15: They engage in polygamous relationships.

  • Meaning they can have multiple females partners at any given time. 

Fact 16: A newborn giraffe is already taller than the average human being.

  • Baby giraffes stand at a height of 6.6 feet and can run on their own just a few hours after birth. 

Fact 17: Giraffes have a high adult survival rate.

  • Compared to other animals, giraffes have an unusually long lifespan of 38 years. Giraffes typically avoid predation due to their towering height, good eyesight and powerful kicks.   

Fact 18: Many calves are killed in their first few months.

  • Predators like spotted hyenas, leopards, and lions, prey on young giraffes who still can’t defend themselves.  

Fact 19: They don’t sleep a lot.

  • In fact, giraffes need less than 2 hours of sleep per day.  

Fact 20: Contrary to popular belief, Giraffes aren’t silent creatures. 

  • Giraffes are capable of producing low pitch noises that humans can’t hear at all. They bellow, hiss, snort and make flute-like sounds.

Fact 21: Despite their long necks, a giraffe can’t reach the floor while standing up straight.

  • To drink water from the ground a giraffe must shuffle/spread its front legs to reach the ground. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to drink that much since it’s able to get water from all of the plants it eats.

Fact 22: There are four distinct species of giraffe. 

  • These are the Northern Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), Southern Giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa reticulata), and Masai Giraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi).

Fact 23: The giraffe’s closest relative is the Okapi.

  • The Okapi is known as the Forest Giraffe, Congolese Giraffe, or Zebra Giraffe. It’s an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.

Fact 24: Giraffes sleep with their feet tucked under them and their heads resting on their hindquarters.

  • They can also sleep while standing up.

Fact 25: A giraffe’s feet are roughly the size of a dinner plate.

  • Their huge hooves prevent them from sinking into loose sand.

Fact 26: A giraffe has 300 bones in its body.

  • When a baby giraffe is born it has a lot of cartilage in its head.

Fact 27: Giraffes often die because of lightening.

  • While out roaming in the dry Savanah during a lightning storm giraffes often get struck. The voltage is so high their body can’t cope, so the heart quickens too much causing death. 

Fact 28: Giraffes can be smelly animals at times.

  • This applies to males who are sometimes called ‘stink bulls’ because their fur is so rich in antiparasitic treatment they can be rather stinky. 

Fact 29: Males will drink the urine of a fellow female giraffe to see if she is on heat or not.

  • They can mate at any time during the year.

Fact 30: Older male giraffes’ coat patterns turn darker with age.

  • This has been put down to maturity.

Fact 31: Giraffes will only have one baby at a time.

  • It’s incredibly rare to see a giraffe having twins, although not impossible, but it can be fatal.

References

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