30 Giraffe Facts for Kids

Standing tall as the tallest mammals on land, giraffes capture our imagination with their extraordinary height, elegant walking style, and unique spotted coats. These majestic animals have several surprising traits that fascinate young explorers. Discover amazing tidbits about these peaceful, leaf-eating giants of the African savanna that kids will love learning in this list of giraffe facts for children.

Giraffe Facts for Kids

  1. Male giraffes use their long necks like a weapon, swinging them to strike opponents with their hard ossicones (horn-like growths on their heads).
  2. A giraffe’s habitat range in Africa includes savannas, grasslands or open woodlands. Their favorite leaves grow on tall acacia trees.
  3. Giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep in a 24 hour period! They often achieve that in quick power naps.
  4. Newborn calves are 6 feet tall and can stand just within the first hour after birth.
  5. Since a giraffe’s heart must pump blood upward roughly 8 feet to reach their brain, it evolved to weigh 24 pounds (11 kg) and their blood pressure is twice what a human’s is.
  6. Giraffes run up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) in quick bursts and steadily cruise at 10 mph (16 kph).
  7. Giraffes have bluish-purple tongues which are tough and covered in bristly hair to help them feed on thorny plants without injury.
  8. Male giraffes use their tongues to pull tasty leaves off branches into their mouths. Females simply eat around the thorns.
  9. A giraffe’s front and back legs bear weight equally despite the difference in leg length. Their lower front legs adapt by having thicker, more vertical bones.
  10. Giraffes have never been captured yawning in the wild or captivity. No one knows why they don’t!
  11. Despite their vocal anatomical structures, giraffes do not produce any true calls, grunts or roars. Just flute-like whistles you must stand fairly close to hear.
  12. A giraffe calf can stand up within 30 to 60 minutes after birth. These gangly youngsters are 6 feet tall at birth from hoof to shoulder.
  13. Giraffes have only four basic gaits: walk, trot, canter and gallop. They spend nearly half their time feeding moving at a walk, with occasional faster bursts.
  14. A giraffe eats hundreds of pounds of leaves each week. Their 18-inch (46 cm) prehensile tongue helps them forage.
  15. Mature bulls develop calcium growths called ossicones atop their heads which they use during “neck fights” establishing hierarchy for mating rights.
  16. Traditionally the existence of giraffe vocalizations was questioned, but they actually hum, whistle, snort and hiss in addition to calf bleating noises.
  17. The modern giraffe species evolved from a shorter, deer-like ancestor called the sivatherium which became extinct over a million years ago.
  18. Giraffes feature a spotted pattern with jagged edges unique to each individual like a human fingerprint to identify young. No two giraffes have exactly matching coats.
  19. Their 6 inch (15 cm) tongues are tough enough to trim back acacia trees’ vicious thorns then deftly select choice leaves seemingly without harm while feeding.
  20. Giraffes always have their lower lip curled under when feeding to discreetly lick leaves straight into their mouths, then regurgitate cud later for final chewing.
  21. A giraffe heart measures 2 feet (60 cm) long and weighs 24 lbs (11 kg), generating tremendous force to pump blood up their extremely long necks to the brain.
  22. Giraffes can completely close their muscular nostrils to seal out blowing dust as well as parasites at times.
  23. Their hooves measure 12 inches (30 cm) across for stability on long legs holding nearly 2 tons split over their front and back feet equally.
  24. Giraffes sport a short furry mane along neck tops, an evolutionary relic from heavily maned ancestors called sivatherium now extinct over one million years.
  25. These giants evolved smaller brains over time since blood pumping requirements to oxygenate tissues outweighs added cranial demands for complex neural wiring benefiting intelligence.
  26. Yellow-ish patches contrasting their darker fur act as primitive camouflage visually breaking the body outline amid Africa’s tan bushveld terrain stealthily despite massive heights approaching 19 feet.
  27. Giraffe fur feels coarse with unusual 8-sided ossicones (bony protrusions) atop male heads used sparring over mating rights with females, establishing hierarchy through “necking” battles.
  28. Their prehensile 18 inch (46 cm) tongue grasp even thorny acacia tree shoots deftly, drawing choice leaves into protected mouths. This flexible adaptation allows exploiting vegetation other grazers cannot access.
  29. Giraffes sport the longest tail hairs in the animal kingdom, measuring over 8 feet (2.4 m) long used as flyswatters batting insects away from uteruses while birthing new calves cautiously.
  30. Despite tremendous dimensions with relatively few predators, giraffes average lifespans under 25 years from natural environmental challenges making their existence seem fleeting.

FAQ About Fun Giraffe Facts

What is a baby giraffe called? A baby giraffe is called a calf. Newborns are about six feet tall at birth!

Why do giraffes have long blue tongues? Giraffes evolved long bluish-purple tongues covered in thick bristly hair allowing them to feed on nutritious yet thorny acacia tree leaves other animals cannot reach comfortably.

How fast can a giraffe run? Giraffes can sustainably run 10 miles per hour (16 kph) but reach breathtaking bursts nearing 35 mph (56 kph) pace if needed to outrun predators for short distances despite towering heights.

Why are giraffes tongues dark purple? Uncertain scientifically, but giraffes bluish-back tongues supply blood richly supporting dedicated opportunistic feeding on thorny vegetation most mammals cannot consume, suggesting the unusual hue indicates an exceptionally prehensile, durable and thickly haired adaptation.

What country has the most giraffes? Kenya features America’s densest last remaining wild herds roaming protected savannah preserves cautiously avoided poachers seeking illegally trafficked tail hairs, hides and scales sustaining esteemed traditional folk remedies globally. Over 100,000 remain continentally.