How tall is a Giraffe 18 Feet

About Giraffes

The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is largest rudiment and the tallest land mammal. This is not due to its long neck alone. The adult giraffe’s legs are taller than the average human

The average height of a giraffe differs between male and female.

Male giraffes (or ‘bulls’) can be up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) tall, with a shoulder height of 11 feet (3.3 meters).

Female giraffes (or ‘cows’) can be up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) tall, with a shoulder height of 9 feet (2.8 meters).

Even baby giraffes are huge, a whopping six feet tall at birth

The tallest recorded male giraffe was one at London zoo called George who reached an amazing 19 ft 3 in (5.88 meters) The tallest recorded female was ‘Shackie’ who is 22ft tall (6.7 meters)

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The giraffe’s neck is especially designed by nature to aid its hunt for food (see WHAT DO GIRAFFES EAT below). A male giraffe’s neck can be 7 feet in length and a female’s is about 5ft in length. Despite the length of its neck, the giraffe has only seven neck bones. This is the same number that man and most other mammals have. One particular disadvantage of its large neck for a giraffe is that it makes personal grooming extremely difficult and is usually covered in little ticks. You often find giraffes scratching themselves against trees to try and rid itself of these pesky parasites.


Not only are they tall but the giraffe is also one of the world's heaviest animals – although no way as heavy as an elephant. Ordinarily male giraffes can weigh about between 2,400 and 4,200 pounds (1,191 kilos) and female giraffes from about 1,500 to 2,600 pounds (828 kilos). The heaviest recorded giraffe is a female that lives in Tanzania and is called ‘Shackie’. She is not only a about 22ft tall (and the tallest recorded female giraffe) but weighs a massive 5,100 pounds


Giraffes are native to most of central and southern Africa. They range from as far north as Chad and down to the northern region of South Africa and from Niger Republic in the west to Somalia in the east. They inhabit the woodlands and savannas across this area (although seen in grasslands they would normally only use these for travelling through).


Giraffes are herbivorous. Their long necks help them get food from the inaccessible areas of even very tall trees. This means they can exploit feeding areas shared with very few other species (apart from elephants). Since giraffes are so tall, they don't have to compete with other plant-eating animals (such as zebras and antelopes) that also live in the savannahs. They feed mainly on the Acacia trees but also like mimosa and wild apricot trees. They are very selective feeders and only choose the most nutritious leaves. They do this by pulling leaves and small twigs into its mouth with its lips and tongue, and often spit out thorns and tough twigs. Not only does the giraffe have a long neck but its tongue is about 17 to 21 inches long! This helps it to get the tasty morsels from the branches. Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. A full grown male eats up to 100 pounds of food in one day, females less. Eating that much food is a huge task, and giraffes must spend 16 to 20 hours a day eating twigs, leaves, bark, flowers and fruit and must travel miles to find enough food. This animal has a very efficient digestive system, which means they can survive on less than half the browse you would expect of an animal of this size. Giraffes will usually feed and travel in the cooler parts of the day (like early mornings and late afternoons or evening). They do sometimes feed at night provided there is sufficient moonlight. It is interesting that you can often tell the sex of giraffe just by observing the way in which it eats. Males will often feed at full stretch, reaching up to 5.8 m from the ground. Females feed lower with their heads tipped downwards and their necks angled forward to reach the tops of low bushes. This means that bulls and cows do not have to compete for food.


Giraffes are remarkably adapted for life in the harsh African plains. Although they are capable of drinking plenty of water, giraffes can also last for long periods in hot and dry areas. They get most of their water from simply licking the dew from leaves and the luscious plants they eat so if fresh green food is available they do not need water so you are unlikely to see them at rivers and lakes. Because they can survive for a long time without drinking water, they don't have to join other savannah animals that migrate to other areas during the dry season. To drink at a water hole they must spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position, they will always be careful to look around beforehand to make sure they have a good footing before bending. That makes them vulnerable to predators like lions. To combat this giraffes only need to drink once every several days.


They are a gregarious species but live in very loose, unstable herds containing both males and females of various ages. Mature bulls are mobile and will roam alone but will associate with a herd that has a female on heat in it. The most common social interaction you will see amongst these animals is necking. This occurs during courtship, when it involves a gentle, stroking action. Dominant males will gain mating rights to females, who then bear the sole responsibility for raising the young. These animals are not territorial and will move amongst groups without lasting relationships, except for the bond between a mother and a calf. Adult giraffes do not have strong social bonds, although they do often gather in loose groups if they happen to be travelling in the same general direction To understand dominance hierarchies amongst them look for the dominant animal, which will stand with its head held high. Young adult males spar by neck wrestling when it is a test of strength - each trying to wrestle the other slightly off balance. A submissive one holds its head low and at an angle to its neck and drops its ears.


The art of courting for a giraffes is a very ritualistic process. A roaming ‘bull’ will first test if a female is in a reproductive condition by sniffing her urine. Such a female will quickly find that she is being ‘courted’ by a series of (increasingly) higher ranked males. By the time the female is ready the ‘top bull’ will already be courting her. Copulation is very brief. Females will leave the safety of the herd to give birth in cover. In some parts of Africa nearly all births are performed in traditional ‘calving grounds’ to which the female will return. The female always gives birth while standing (or even whilst walking). The female will chase any other giraffes away so that the new born will bond only with her. The calf will be able to stand within an hour and will lie hidden for about 1 to 3 weeks (the African terrain is a dangerous place for newly-borns). The mother will guide the calve with gentle nudges of her head or forelegs Calves in the same herd establish social bonds by playing with each other. The calves first eat solid food at two weeks. They are weaned between 12 and 14 months and leave the mother at 15 to 17 months. Because of their obvious vulnerability calves suffer heavy predation and the first year mortality is 48%.


A giraffe has a strange way of walking. It moves both legs on one side (i.e. both right legs), and then it moves both legs on the other side (i.e. both left legs). This is called pacing. When they gallop, this changes and they simultaneously swing the hind legs ahead of and outside the front legs The long legs of the giraffe means that they can run very fast (if necessary) and can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour over short distances, but are more comfortable with 10 miles per hour over longer distances. Interestingly they can hardly jump at all. The highest fence it has been recorded clearing was only 1mtr high.


Because of its size and speed giraffes have very few enemies in the wild. Even if a giraffe is thrown off balance it is still very dangerous. A kick from one of its long legs can instantly kill a lion. In the savannah though they can still be preyed upon by lions, and calves are particularly vulnerable to attack by leopards, spotted hyenas and wild dogs


They defend themselves against predators largely by virtue of their long legs. They use these to defend themselves by kicking with either the fore or hind feet. Their large and heavy hooves can break the back of a lion. Their feeding habits though can also mean that bull giraffes are vulnerable at those times when they tend to feed at full stretch with their heads tipped upwards. This makes them less able to keep watch for predators while feeding. In the Kruger National Park it is reported that lions kill nearly 2 times as many bulls as cows.


In real fights old bulls swing their heads like medieval maces, landing thudding blows on the legs and body of the opponent with the head. The winner will emphasize his dominance by briefly mounting the loser. The neck is so long that the swing looks much slower than it is and the blows appear less hard but the sounds of their impacts can still be heard from nearly 100 mtrs away. It is not unknown for broken jaws and necks and for combatants being knocked unconscious. A bull rides the blows of the opponent by jumping slightly at the moment of impact. They cannot jump and swing at the same time so the two opponents give the impression that they are taking turns to give and receive blows. Fights like this can go on for more than half an hour. High-ranking bulls often intimidate subordinates by standing with their necks vertical in order to exaggerate their height and bulk.


Giraffes are classified under the family ‘Giraffidae’, along with its closest extant relatives, the okapi. They are also distant cousins to cattle and deer. There are nine subspecies, which are distinguished by their coat patterns The giraffe coat is a patch-like pattern of medium brown patches of hair surrounded by a lighter color. The color pattern is so designed by nature to makes the animal difficult to see when it is standing in the shade of trees. When a giraffe raises or lowers its head its brain is protected by a special system of elastic blood vessels in the neck. This system is effective in getting blood and oxygen to their heads, as well as to prevent blackouts when they lower their heads. Both male and female giraffes have horns. These are known technically as "ossicones." The female’s horns are smaller and typically have some hair on top. This is often another good way to distinguish between the sexes. The ossicones of males are predominantly bald. If they do have any hair they lose this early as a result of combat with fellow males. Male giraffes use their horns to playfully fight with one another. As male giraffes age, calcium deposits form on their skulls and other horn-like bumps develop. Giraffes can have up to three of these large bumps, two in the rear of the skull and one in the forehead region, so that it may look like they have five horns. These are only ‘illusions’ of horns and giraffes always have 2 ossicones. Why they even have these is open to speculation but the giraffe's "horns" were originally support structures for their antlers -- sockets that supported the large racks which deer find so handy during mating season in their tests of strength and dominance. Giraffes are related to the deer family so it is possible that as giraffes grew taller, and their necks thinner, the violent frontal assaults of the mating ritual would have become dangerous and nature has modified this considerably. A giraffe can close its nostrils completely to keep out sand and dust They have enormous hearts, which weigh close to 25 pounds and large lungs to effectively circulate air through the 6 to 8 feet long windpipe. Giraffes have good sight and hearing.