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Critter Guide
Mammals: Giraffe


The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Each giraffe's coat is unique, like a human fingerprint. Like camels, giraffes can go for long periods without drinking water. In the wild, giraffes will not sleep more than 20 minutes a day, as they need to stay alert for predators.

Where do they live?:

Giraffes live in Africa, from the Sahara all the way down to Capetown.

What do they eat?:

They are vegetarians, eating leaves and branches from the mimosa and acacia trees.

Social Environment:

Giraffes are non-territorial and sociable. Giraffes can usually be found in groups of 12 to 15 individuals. Herds are lead by an adult male (bull) and are composed of adult females (cows), calves, and young males.

Critter Fact:

Giraffes have long been thought to be mute, but that is not the case. Giraffes communicate by emitting moans or low notes that the human ear cannot hear.

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Did You Know?

Giraffes have a symbiotic relationship with tickbirds. These small birds ride on the giraffe's back, eating pesky insects off of its skin. In return for food, the birds serve as an early warning signal, alerting giraffes to any approaching predators with a loud chirp.

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