Can Giraffes Swim?

Herd of giraffes at a watering hole in Namibia.
Herd of giraffes at a watering hole in Namibia.

Giraffes are the world's tallest animals. The most striking feature of this species is their extremely elongated neck and legs. Giraffes are found only in Africa and are mostly found in the savannahs and woodlands of the continent. Giraffes are found in Chad, South Africa, Niger, Uganda, Namibia, and Kenya. Due to their height, many believe that giraffes are unable to swim. Science is beginning to prove this wrong.

Giraffe Facts

There are various facts about giraffes that one needs to know while studying giraffes. For instance, the neck of a giraffe cannot reach the ground when it is standing; this is the primary reason why giraffes spread their front legs when they want to drink water or reach the ground. They can also be observed to kneel in an attempt to reach the ground. Their legs alone are taller than most humans. Unlike other mammals, giraffes only require 5 to 30 minutes of sleep within the usual 24 hours. Giraffes can be easily identified due to their unique color patterns of its skin that has brown spots stained with a black color. The male species is generally taller and heavier than the female. According to a report by the National Geographic Society, the height of a normal giraffe ranges between four to five meters. Giraffes can live up to 25 years.

Can Giraffes Swim?

Giraffes have long been known as one of the mammals in the world that are not able to swim. Scientists believed that the long neck of the giraffe and the long legs would not provide enough energy to support its neck while in water. However, in 2010, this fact was disapproved when scientists used complex digital models to prove that just like other mammals, giraffes too can float in water. In the study published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, it was found that giraffes could supposedly swim. However, it would require the giraffe to crank its neck in an awkward backward position, and also slant the legs backward.

What Do Giraffes Eat?

Giraffes are classified as herbivores; this means that majority of its diet is made up plant materials. These animals can adapt to different feeding habitats depending on the plant species available in the area. Giraffes spend most of their time eating; they are said to consume more than 45 kilograms of food in a day. Giraffes feed mostly on leaves. In the arid grasslands, giraffes survive on acacia leaves and shoot. During the rainy season, giraffes can feed on vines, herbs, and flowers. A giraffe can even feed on leaves in thorny areas thanks to its long and rough tongue.

Conservation of Giraffes

There are nine subspecies of giraffes, including the Masai giraffe, the northern giraffe, the reticulated giraffe, and the southern giraffe. According to the IUCN report, giraffes have been listed as exposed to extermination. Over the last thirty years, the number of giraffes has decreased by around 40%. Current approximations suggest that there are less than 100,000 giraffes that remain in the world.


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