Giraffe

Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis spp
Irish Name: Sioráf
IUCN Status: Endangered

Giraffes are the tallest living land animal in the world, reaching heights of over 5 metres. They have a beautiful irregular brown patterns on their coat with off-white divisions. They have very long necks and legs with horn-like features called ossicones on their heads.

Giraffe

Giraffes are the tallest living land animal in the world, reaching heights of over 5 metres. They have a beautiful irregular brown patterns on their coat with off-white divisions. They have very long necks and legs with horn-like features called ossicones on their heads.

General Information

Where do they live?

Can be found in forest, shrubland and savanah habitats in north and east Kenya, south-west Somalia and southern Ethiopia.

How long do they live?

25 years in the wild

What do they eat?

Giraffe are grazers. They mostly feed on Acacia species with their long tongues. Males feed higher than females, giving them access to new shoots. However, diet changes seasonally and they are known to feed on other ever-greens and semi-deciduous plants.

Group Name

Herd/tower

Zoo location

African plains

Closest Related Species/Sister Species

Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)

Animal Class

Mammalia

Animal Order

Cetartiodactlya

Fun Facts

Tallest animal

Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world!

Blue tongues

Giraffes have blue tongues – it is this colour to prevent it from getting sunburned.

Sleep is a tall order

Giraffes sleep standing up - but only for short periods to remain alert for predators

Quick on their feet

Baby giraffes should be standing within an hour of birth, This is so the herd can keep moving and avoid predators

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Family Life

Giraffes are social animals and live in unstable herds of 10 to 20 individuals; animals are free to come and go as they please. There are females, offspring, young, and some males in the herds- though some males prefer to live solitary lives. Baby giraffes are born while their mothers are standing up so have a drop of about 1.5 metres when entering the world! They need to be up and running within 10 hours of birth so as to keep the herd moving and safe from predators.

Baby Name

Calf

Gestation period

15 months

Number of young at birth

Usually one

Weight at birth

Around 60kg

Age at maturity

Females are sexually mature around 3.5 years and males around 4.5 years

Adult male name

Bull

Adult female name

Cow

Size male adult

5.3 meters and 1,200 kg average

Size female adult

4.3 meters and 830 kg average

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Conservation

IUCN Status

Endangered (2018)

Current population estimate

Approximately 97,000 individuals

Threats

Giraffes are classified as 'Vulnerable' by the International Union of Conservation in Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and poaching for their hide.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin Zoo is working with in partnership with Rothschild Giraffe Project in Kenya to fund research in giraffe social networks in order to better understand herd dynamics. Dublin Zoo is also part a European breeding programme for Rothschild giraffes.

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FAQs

  • How tall is a giraffe?

    Males are around 5.3 meters, females are around 4.3 meters

  • How long are giraffes pregnant for?

    A giraffes gestation is around 15 months

  • Are giraffes endangered?

    Yes, giraffes were classed as Endangered by the IUCN in 2018.

  • How do giraffes sleep?

    They sleep only for around 4 hours a day, broken into 15 minute chunks so they can always be on the look out for predators.

  • How long do giraffes live?

    25 years in the wild.

  • What do giraffes eat?

    Giraffes mostly eat Acacia tree leaves in the wild, but will graze on other browse.

  • What is a baby giraffe called?

    A calf.

  • How long are giraffes in labor?

    Anywhere from 20 minutes, to several hours.

  • Where do giraffes live?

    Found in north and east Kenya, south-west Somalia and southern Ethiopia.

  • How do giraffes mate?

    Females have an estrous cycle of 14.7 days, when they are sexually active. Males spend most of their time roaming in search of a fertile female and once found, they mate guard her to ensure successful mating.

  • How much does a giraffe weigh?

    Males can weight 1,200 kg and females around 830 kg

  • What color is a giraffe's tongue?

    A purple shade thought to help protect against sunburn.

  • Do giraffes mate for life?

    Giraffes do not mate for life. Females are generally always pregant in their adult lives with males roaming large distances for females.

  • How tall is a baby giraffe?

    Around 2 meters tall at birth.

  • What is a group of giraffes called?

    Herd/tower.

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