All Things Kenyan

Giraffe Facts

Name: Giraffe

Latin Name: Giraffe camelopardalis, which means “the fast-walking camel-leopard.”

African Names: Twiga (Swahili), Ndwiga (Kikuyu), Furiramudenga (Shona), Thutlwa (Tswana), Indiulamithi (Zulu)

Sub-Species: 9 accepted sub-species – Reticulated giraffes (most common, brown spots on white), Nubian giraffes, Nigerian/West African giraffes (pale, reddish yellow spots), Kordofan giraffes, Baringo or Rothschild’s giraffes (deep brown spots sometimes rectangular-shaped), Kilimanjaro or Masai giraffes (leaf-shaped spots), Thornicroft’s giraffes, Angolan giraffes, Southern giraffes



Height: 14 to 20 feet (4.2 to 6.0 meters)

Average Adult Weight: Female, 1540-2600 pounds (700-1182 kg) on average

Life Span: 10 years, but have been known to live up to 27 years

Description: Giraffes have black tongues. Although their neck is very long, they only have 7 vertebrae in their necks – just like humans! Giraffes are normally silent, but calves can bleat, cows bellow to find their calves, and they will also give warning snorts, moans, and hisses.

Habitat: Giraffes live only in the African savannah, in scrub, and open acacia woodlands south of the Sahara.

Babies: Live birth. A baby giraffe has a 6 foot (2 meter) drop when it is born and lands on its head!

Food: Mostly tree leaves. Giraffes drink very little and can go up to two weeks without water. They have four stomaches (similar to a cow) where they regurgitate their food and chew it completely.

Group Name: A tower or herd which can consist of two to fifty giraffe. Groups of young giraffe are called creches.

Habits: Giraffes sleep up to 12 minutes per day.

Endangered: No