With their long necks, eyelashes and legs Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are the epitomy of grace and beauty. They are also uniquely adapted to their savanna environment. Included here are some lesser known facts that may, in some cases, seem a bit of a stretch but which are true nonetheless!

  • No two giraffes have the same coat pattern. As unique as human finger prints these patterns make individual identification relatively simple.
  • Giraffes can voluntarily close their nostrils to prevent them from inhaling too much dust.
  • If a giraffe is able to find enough fresh foliage it can last without water longer than a camel.
  • Giraffes only need between 10 minutes and 2 hours of slumber each day, the lowest sleep requirement of any mammal.
  • The species nameĀ Giraffa camelopardalisĀ came about because ancient Romans through that giraffes had a camel-like body shape and a leopard-like (Panthera pardus) fur pattern.
  • Adult giraffes can have hooves that are about 30cm in diameter – about the size of a dinner plate!
  • A newborn giraffe calf is 1.8m tall, weighs 100kg and drops from a height of approximately 1.5m as it enters the world. They can stand on their own within an hour of being born.
  • Because males are generally taller than females they browse slightly higher than females. This gives rise to the characteristic hour-glass shape of their favourite trees.
  • They eat soil to obtain minerals and can frequently be seen chewing bones to obtain additional calcium and phosphorus.
  • Giraffes are usually silent only grunting when alarmed and mooing in distress.
  • Their 45cm long tongues are deep purple or black in colour, the additional melanin offering some protection from sunburn. When you feed for almost 12 hours per day your tongue is exposed to the elements quite a lot!
  • They assist in the pollination of the Knob thorn tree (Senegalia nigrescens) by carring pollen on the top of their ossicones from tree to tree when feeding.