Giraffe in exhibit
Scientific Name
Giraffa camelopardalis
Geographic Range
Sub-Saharan Africa
Leaves (mostly from acacia, mimosa, and wild apricot trees)
Giraffe in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Vulnerable Endangered Status Graph - Vulnerable

More Information

On average, male giraffes stand at 17 feet tall, but females are slightly shorter at 14 feet. Their weight ranges between 1,200–4.250 pounds. The color and pattern of each giraffe’s coat varies, and their light-colored undersides usually lack spots. They have a mane down the back of their neck and tufts of hair on the tips of their long tail. Giraffes can run quickly; the fastest can reach 35 mph over short distances. Still, they may spend up to 20 hours a day browsing for leaves.

Giraffes are timid and alert. They get most of the water from the plants they eat, so they may go over a month without needing to get a drink. This helps their survival prospects, because drinking puts them into a vulnerable position—bent over, with front legs spread. They live in small groups of two to 10 individuals, and young males may form bachelor groups. These mammals breed year-round, but more young tend to be born in the dry months. Infant giraffes, born after a 15-month gestation, may be 100–150 pounds at birth and 5.5–6.5 feet tall. They can stand within 20 minutes of being born. Females become mature at 3.5 years old; males do so at 4.5 years.

Did You Know?

  • Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. Their height gives them the greatest range of vision of any terrestrial animal.
  • They use their dark-colored, prehensile, 21-inch-long tongues to grab and eat leaves—some may eat up to 75 pounds a day—from trees across Africa. They also have prehensile lips.
  • Giraffes have seven neck vertebrae, the same as humans. Of course, those bones are much larger. Their necks also have a series of valves that regulate blood flow to the head.

Species Survival Plan logo

Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

Learn More

SAFE: Saving animals From Extinction logo

Saving Animals From Extinction

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their audiences to save species.

Learn More

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist