87 / 100

How fast can a human run? In theory, the highest speed is 40 mph, but in the actual scenario, 27 mph is the highest record. So how fast can a giraffe run? Obviously, it is faster than humans. 

The name Giraffe comes from the Arabic language which means the fast walker. They don’t even appear to be running, due to their enormous size. They will look like moving in slow motion. But their impressive speed can surprise you. 

Let us learn how fast can a giraffe run? How far can a giraffe run? How fast can giraffes swim? And the other interesting facts like diet, behavior, and other things about this unique mammal. 

What is the appearance of a Giraffe? 


Giraffes have an iconic pattern of spots that cover their boy with a coloration that varies across the range based on diet and other factors. They have yellow to almost black patches with lines that are yellowish-white in between. They have a unique coat pattern just like human fingerprints. 

The Giraffe is the world’s tallest land animal with a long neck and long legs which is 6 feet (1.8m). The long legs provide them the height they need to reach the trees. The front legs are 10% of the back legs.

The tail ends with a tuft of black furs, measuring between 78 and 100cm (31 to 39 inches) long. The tongue is a blue-greyed color and the size of the eyes is similar to a golfball. 

The Male Giraffe are larger than females, standing up to 5.5m (18ft) tall and weight up to 1,360kg (2,998lbs). While the female giraffes can be up to 4.3m (14ft) tall and weigh up to 680kg (1,500lbs). 

The style of walking of a giraffe

The giraffe has a very unique way of moving its body. It has two manners of walking. 

When going in high gear, the front legs of the Giraffe do the pushing while the back legs reach forward on the outside of the front legs. The neck and the head will move forward and back by pushing out with the front legs and rise almost straight up with the back legs. 

How fast can a giraffe run?

A Giraffe has the longest strides. They have more speed than humans but it is considered slow-motion animal.

It is actually ranked 10th in the list of the fastest sprinters in the world. So how fast can a giraffe run and How far can a giraffe run? They can reach a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour (38 miles an hour) when running short distances, while on long distances, they can move at a pace of 16 kilometers per hour (10 miles an hour). 

They are known as slow-motion animals as they do not seem like running. It is when you try to keep up with their pace, that you will realize the significance of the giraffe’s top speed. 60 kilometers per hour is actually an incredible speed. 

The normal speed is more like 10 kilometers per hour (10 miles per hour), and this is like the giraffe walking with their very long legs. 

They have long and strong legs, and their palm is plain. This helps them run faster on the ground. But it is their size of the body that makes them one of the best prey. 

A giraffe can reach a top speed of 37 miles per hour when galloping but it can get tired easily and it cannot sustain the chase over a distance of more than a couple of miles and might get dropped dead of a heart attack.

The baby giraffe is able to run in as little as one hour after birth. 

How do Giraffes run?

The way of running is different and relatively unique. When Giraffe runs, they move both their left legs first and then the right legs.

Simply it is left, left, right, and right. And they switch to a different rhythm when trotting and galloping in the way of left, right, left, and right. They keep up the same stride pattern when they are walking and do it a little quicker. 

Can Giraffe escape from predators? 

The lion is the main predator of the Giraffe. And the lion runs at almost 50 miles per hour. The giraffe uses its great height and excellent eyesight to spot the lion as far as half a mile away and gets a head start. The lions can sustain the top speed for about a hundred yards, so it runs out of gas before the giraffe does. 

The long legs and neck help them to run. They give an impressive long stride allowing them to cover long distances quickly without expending much energy. 

The Hyenas generally have the same speed as Giraffes which is roughly 35 miles per hour. But they hunt in packs and can be dangerous. It can take turns when the pack of members gets tired so that they easily catch the Giraffes. 

The legs of the Giraffe

how fast can a giraffe run

The legs of the Giraffe are so tall that to get up or lie down, the giraffe has to kneel on its forelegs. It usually spreads its elongated forelegs to bend down and drink water.

The supporting movement of the legs especially walking and galloping help them to defend themselves from its predators. 

But they are well-skilled in the form of self-defense. Lions do not usually attack them when they are in large groups. The legs are extremely powerful and each ends in a hard, sharp 12-inch (30-centimeter) hoof. They are so strong and will be able to move in a way where they can kill a lion. 

Other interesting facts about Giraffe

How fast can giraffes swim?

Giraffes have been known as a mammal that is not able to swim for a long time. This is because of their long neck and the long legs of the giraffe that do not provide enough energy to support its neck in the water. 

But this is actually was proven wrong in 2010. The scientist used complex digital models to prove that Giraffes can float in the water, and was found that they could supposedly swim. But it would require the giraffe to crank its neck in a backward position, and slants the legs backward. 

The vision and height of Giraffes 

Giraffes are tall

The height of the Giraffe is important for their survival. For predators, Giraffe may be visible big and will find it too big to tackle. They are one of the few species of mammals to perceive color and the visual field approaches 360° from the tremendous height.

They have an extremely acute long-range vision that helps them to detect predators from a great distance. They can cover long distances quickly without wasting much energy. 

The tongue of the Giraffe

The length of the tongue of an adult giraffe is around half a meter long and is usually between 45 cm and 55 cm. The length of the tongue helps this mammal to get extra reach for those high acacia leaves and wraps their tongues around branches to strip the leaves and avoid the thorns. 

The diet of Giraffes

The Giraffes have classified as herbivores, as they eat a lot of plant materials, especially they feed mostly on leaves. They unusually consume more than 45 kilograms of food in a day. They can adapt to different feeding habitats depending on the plant species that are available in the area. They spend most of their time eating which is about 12 hours. 

They have a particular taste for acacia trees, which other animals find hard to reach. They eat fresh leaves and twigs from the top of the trees. During the rainy season, they feed on vines, herbs, and flowers. 

Even in the drought season, Giraffes find height to be an advantage as they can reach the tallest trees which have the deepest roots, and so can access water even during the dry time. 

Although they are considered to be herbivores, they eat bones.  Due to their huge skeletons, they require a large amount of calcium and phosphorous and the best way to reach them is by chewing bones from carcasses.

How much do they sleep?

Giraffes spend more hours keeping up with their body’s demands. But this will not make them tired or make them sleepy. But it is not. They only need between 10 minutes and 2 hours of sleep in a day. Most probably it would be less than 20 minutes. 

They can nap while standing but they prefer to sit down and lay to take a rest, but this makes them in a vulnerable position. When they sit or lay, one of the members of giraffes will keep them from any predators. 

Most of the time, they stay awake so that they can be constantly on alert for predators. They usually get their sleep in quick power naps that last just a couple of minutes.

Where do they live and their habits?

You can find them in savannas throughout Africa. They are native to Kenya, Chad, Nigerm Cameroon, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, and South Africa. 

They usually prefer semi-arid, open woodlands that have trees and bushes scattered. They do not have territories and are so social. The group usually has 10 to 20 members. Some consist of all females and their young while some consists of all male or mixed genders.  

The giraffes have two hair-covered horns. Males use them to play and enjoy with one another. 

They can actually jump but they do not need to jump because of their tallness. They have unique blotchy coloring camouflages while they eat leaves. Several species of birds provide a form of protection to giraffes by perching and they help to pick parasites that weaken them potentially and sicken them. 

The access to water

giraffe drinking water

They can go days without drinking water. This is because to drink water giraffes have to position their body in a vulnerable way and so they don’t do it often. They will wait if they sense any danger. They get water from the moisture contained in the leaves they eat and consume several gallons at a time when they need to drink. 

The importance of Giraffes

The population of the Giraffes has declined by 30% over just 15 years while in some areas it is estimated to be 95%. In the wild, there are approximately only 117,000 giraffes left, and the remaining ones are facing a lot of threats. 

Due to human development and expanding agriculture, the giraffes are losing their main source of food. They are becoming extinct. 

But they have a pivotal role in the environment that cannot be filled by other species. 

The Giraffes are vegan and with their long necks, they eat leaves, fruits, and flowers that are out of reach for most of the animals on land. The plants and flowers consumed by giraffes spread the seeds allowing the plants to germinate. 

When they eat the top leaves, they open the areas to the habitat, letting the sun reach the lower levels of vegetation and promote plant growth. 

Final thoughts 

Giraffes are on the top of the list of many people’s favorite animals for their elegant and unique stride. Thye have a unique walking style stepping on the same side of their legs front at the same time. How fast can a giraffe run?

Ranked at the 10th position in the list of fastest sprinters, they can reach a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour. 

They are really important to the ecosystems as they consume leaves that cannot be reached by other animals. But due to various reasons, like human development and agriculture expansion along with human hunting of Giraffes, the population is declining each year. So it is important to save them and prevent declination. 

To obtain more on ANIMALS, follow our WEBSITE.

Follow us on FACEBOOK.