A close-up of a giraffe at ZSL London Zoo

What they look like

Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. They have long legs, necks and even tongues - which are incredibly dextrous and purpley-black in colour (possibly to protect them from sun burn). Their famous brown and yellow coat patterns vary between habitats – always adapted to optimum camouflage with their surroundings.

Their horns are called ossicones and are covered in skin and fur and are similar to deer’s. Giraffes have the same number of neck bones (vertebra) as humans – although theirs are linked by ball and socket joints enabling them far greater flexibility.

Animal facts

Giraffes act as the savannah’s alarm system.  With their long necks reaching above the treeline, they see danger first. When they start running the rest of the plain knows to run too. They can run at a pace of ten miles an hour for considerable distances and sprint as fast as 35 miles an hour in a short burst if threatened. Giraffes spend the majority of their time grazing and digest their food similarly to cows – regurgitating and chewing . They only need to drink once every few days, getting much of their hydration from food

What they eat

Leaves, bark and buds


Bushy Savannah

Where they live

Southern Africa


A giraffe’s kick can fend off most predators’ attacks, even lions. Poaching is the giraffe’s only real threat.

Life Span
25 years