About
Animal Facts
Common Name:
Giraffe
Scientific Name:
Giraffa camelopardalis
Behavior:
  • Very social animals, traveling in large herds made up of all ages and both sexes.
  • Dominance between males is established through "necking": contests where males slam their heads into the head and neck of an opponent.
  • A thick, slimy saliva protects their tongue as they wrap it around the thorny branches of the acacia tree to strip its leaves.
Diet:
Herbivore
Height:
18 ft
Weight:
2500 lb
Life Span:
23 yrs
Gestation Period:
450 days
Number of Young:
1
Habitats:
  • Savanna
Fun Facts:
  • When born, calves drop nearly six feet to the ground.
  • Giraffe can be so tall they can peer into a second story window.
  • A giraffe's lungs can hold 12 gallons of air.
  • Valves in the veins and specialized blood vessels work together to prevent giraffe from getting a head rush while raising their heads after getting a drink.
  • Their heart may be two feet long and weigh 25 pounds.
Threats:
  • Habitat Loss
  • Poaching / Over Consumption
Endangered Status
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)

Conservation biologists have recently raised alarm after noting a 40% decline in Africa’s giraffe population over the past three decades. Moreover, genetic evidence suggest that what was previously thought of as one widespread species may in fact consist of four, or perhaps as many as eight different giraffe species. Several of these new species are at grave risk of extinction if threats persist and thus in urgent need of conservation attention. The North Carolina Zoo is helping to protect giraffes in Tanzania by assessing their population health and helping rangers on the ground reduce poaching. The Zoo is also actively involved in investigating a mysterious skin disease that as of yet has no known cure. You can read more about the Zoo’s work on wild giraffes below, under related resources.

This species is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFEspecies. SAFE seeks to protect threatened and endangered species around the world.

Training giraffe enables them to participate in their own care.  After building trust through training, the giraffe voluntarily accept vaccinations and allow blood to be drawn.  Keepers and veterinarians can also work on their hooves through training. 

Saving Species Plan Logo

This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.