What Do Giraffes Eat?


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The world’s tallest living terrestrial animal is a giraffe. The Giraffa camelopardalis, which has nine subspecies, was once thought to be the only species of giraffe. However, thanks to advances in science and DNA analysis, which have made it feasible to connect various animal species, people are now aware that there were seven more species of giraffe that are now extinct.

These creatures are easily recognized thanks to their graceful long necks and distinctive coat patterns. Although they appear to be straightforward creatures, there is much more to these stunning creatures than meets the sight.

What Do Giraffes Eat?

But unlike what you may believe, these herbivores can eat a considerably wider variety of foods because to their complex digestive system. It is reported that they eat more than 100 different kinds of plant species.

Here is a brief overview of the foods that giraffes enjoy eating.

Leaves and twigs

Giraffes mostly concentrate on plants that are within easy reach. They will eat the branches and leaves of a wide range of trees. They particularly enjoy eating acacia leaves, though they will also eat mimosa, wild apricot, and many other types of trees that can be found in their natural habitat.

Their lengthy tongues make it simple for them to reach around branches and tear leaves off of plants. Due to their thick mouths and lips, giraffes seldom suffer thorn injuries.

Without batting an eye, they will encircle prickly plants with their tongues and tilt their heads back to pluck the leaves off of them. They may decide to eat the branches with thorns and all if the thorns are mild.


Although giraffes may consume grass, they choose not to do it frequently because it is difficult for them to reach the ground. To reach the short grass on the ground, they must splay their front legs apart or bend their knees. However, they will do this in hard times so they may obtain the nutrition they require to survive.


These large creatures occasionally appreciate a sweet treat. They will consume any wild fruits they come across growing on tree limbs.

In their natural habitat, wild fruits are scarce, but in captivity, they can eat a broad variety of fruit varieties.

Flowers and herbs

Giraffes may eat flower and herb plants as well. Fruits and herbs do grow closer to the ground and are harder to get, thus they are not consumed as frequently as leaves. However, giraffes are content to eat these delectable delicacies if the local trees are not very abundant.

Herbivore pellets

Giraffes are typically fed herbivore pellets in zoos and other animal enclosures. Since the pellets include particular proportions of plant material as well as additional vitamins and minerals, they provide a balanced diet for the animals.

Giraffes are given extra delicacies including acacia leaves and other plants, fruits, and carrots in zoos.


Like camels, giraffes can go for extended periods of time without water. These creatures are capable of going for weeks or even months without drinking anything. They typically drink 7.5 liters of water each week when they do have access to water. When you consider that adults are advised to consume 2 liters of water every day, this amount is incredibly small.

Giraffe Diet Variations

There are numerous dietary variants for giraffes. They frequently are seen nibbling on decaying bones. When this occurs, the giraffe exhibits osteophagy and their diet is deficient in calcium. When they are pregnant, they are more likely to nibble on ancient bones.

Giraffes may consume prickly pears in the winter to obtain the minerals and moisture they require.

Even though eating too much of these deadly euphorbia trees can kill them, they will nonetheless take tiny amounts of them as sustenance. In the winter, giraffes carry out this action to help combat both internal and external parasites.

Giraffes will eat everything on twigs and branches, including leaves and flowers. This may consist of insects, thorns, or even bark.

How to Feed Giraffe

However, you should always take precautions when you are close to giraffes. A giraffe’s single kick is all it takes to kill a human, yet these creatures have amazing speed and accuracy.

It is advisable to use a truck to deliver food from a designated feeding spot to wild giraffes.

Additionally, it is better to avoid approaching giraffes too closely when they are eating. Although they are known to attack people when they feel threatened, they are not typically violent.

It is also recommended to stay away from those long, pointed necks and spiky hooves when feeding domestic giraffes. Even if the animals are docile, avoid approaching them too closely and offer food from a safe distance, such as a balcony.

How Much Do Giraffes Eat?

Giraffes are enormous creatures. That they require a lot of food to keep nourished is not surprising. Although they can get by on 15 kg of food per day, these animals will eat roughly 30 kg per day.

An adult giraffe typically weighs 800 kg. Accordingly, a typical adult giraffe consumes roughly 4% of their body weight each day.

When giraffes are only able to eat leaves and twigs for sustenance, it can be challenging for them to find 30 kg of food each day. They spend between 16 to 20 hours per day searching for food, which is fortunate because they don’t require as much sleep as most animals do. The remaining time is spent chewing cud so that food can be digested.

What do Baby Giraffes Eat?

Giraffe calf refers to a young giraffe. Males are bulls, while females are cows. Mammals like cattle and giraffes both depend on mother’s milk to thrive. They will only eat from their mothers for the first four to six months.

They will begin sampling plant parts like young shoots and leaves when they are 4 months old. They are weaned and able to eat the same things as adult giraffes by the time they are 12 months old. The calves won’t mature until they are between 3 and 6 years old.

What Do Wild Giraffes Eat?

Giraffes will consume more than 100 different plant kinds in the wild. Although acacia leaves are their preferred meal, they will also eat a wide range of other items, such as grass, fruits, twigs, and much more. These creatures can only eat things that grow in their natural habitat.

In severe situations, they will eat lower items like grass and brushes as well as those that grow higher up in trees, like leaves.

What Do You Feed A Giraffe?

Giraffes may be fed a wide range of foods. They primarily eat grass, twigs, and leaves to survive. These animals are fed herbivore pellets in zoos to maintain their health. Along with these pleasures, they are given leafy greens, romaine lettuce, roots, fruits, sweet potatoes, cabbage, parsnips, and a variety of other delicacies.

Giraffes raised in captivity may develop a taste for human items like bread. However, these meals shouldn’t be given to these animals. These meals cannot be effectively digested by their digestive system, which may cause imbalances or digestive issues.

If you want to feed giraffes, only give them treats that your zookeeper has approved.

 Do Giraffes Eat Carrots?

Carrots are a favorite food of giraffes, who also eat them regularly. Visitors are frequently given vegetables like carrots in zoos to give to the giraffes as a treat. However, it’s crucial to avoid overfeeding giraffes, as they require a varied diet to stay healthy.

Do Giraffes Eat Bananas?

Giraffes will consume fruits they find on trees in the wild. If they can locate these delectable fruits, they will also consume bananas. Owners and visitors frequently give bananas to giraffes in zoos and other enclosures as a nice treat to gnaw on.

Again, it’s crucial to avoid giving giraffes too many bananas. They require a lot of leafy greens to keep nourished and healthy. All day long, giraffes will chew their cud. Giraffes can become swollen and possibly die if they have a large bunch of fermenting bananas in their stomachs.


Beautiful and calm animals, giraffes are. They should receive the greatest treatment available. These animals will be content and full of life if they have access to enough of freshwater and a good, balanced diet. They are known to live between 10 and 15 years in the wild, and if kept in good condition in captivity, they may live between 20 and 25 years.

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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author