Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world, reaching heights of up to 5.3metres (taller than a double decker bus).

(C) Karthik Balasubramanian

Giraffes use their height to browse on leaves twigs and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach. Their excellent vision along with their height makes it easy for them to spot predators from a distance. Some scientists think other animals will congregate near giraffe to use them as an early warning system of a predator approaching.

Even the giraffe's tongue is long! They can reach 53cm in length and are prehensile, which means they are able to grab onto and wrap around their food. They are a distinctive blue-black colour to protect them from sunburn.

(C) Michael Vickers
(C) Vin Crosbie

Giraffes have beautiful coats made of brown patches or blotches separated by a paler more golden colour.  No two individuals have exactly the same pattern.  The giraffe's fur contains antibiotic substances and parasite repellents, giving them a characteristic scent. Old males often smell the most and are sometimes nicknamed "stink bulls".

The giraffe only sleeps for around 4 to 5 hours each day.

The scarcest giraffe subspecies is the West African giraffe with only around 220 left in the wild. Rothschild’s giraffes are now the second most threatened giraffe subspecies but used to be widespread across Sudan, Uganda and Western Kenya. Sadly, their range has decreased and their numbers have plummeted - pushed out of their natural range by agricultural development, hunting, and human encroachment, they are now extinct in Sudan and there are just 670 left in parts of Kenya and one park in Uganda.

Males: Bull
Females: Cow
Body Length: 350-480cm
Tail Length: 75-110cm
Body Height (head to floor): 430-520cm
Weight: 800-1500kgs
Life Expectancy: 20-25 years
Diet: Trees (Acacia trees), twigs, grass, fruit
REGION: Africa
HABITAT: Savannahs, open woodlands, grasslands
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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