Giraffe

A giraffe is a giraffe, right? Actually, no it’s not. There are actually nine sub-species of giraffe.

Say hello to Rian, Sillan and Taharqa.

At our very own Giraffe Heights walkway you can literally be as tall as a giraffe. As you stand head height with our herd.

All our giraffes are male so they live together quite happily. In Africa, they live in small numbers and the males and females (and their calves) stay apart, only coming together to mate.

Our giraffes are hybrid, this means they are a mixture of some of the nine sub-species and as such we will never breed from them. Many years ago (before we knew about all the sub-species) ‘giraffe’ were bred with ‘giraffe’. Today modern zoos, only breed giraffe of the same sub-species together. However, we are still part of a managed breeding programme and an important part of that breeding programme is to provide a home for hybrid males so other zoos can continue breeding.

They don’t call it a 'Camelopardalis' in Latin for nothing you know. Due to the slight hump on their back and the spotted patchwork pattern on their skin they were once referred to as a camel-leopard! All true…it’s no tall tale!

Conservation

Certain sub-species of giraffe are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List due to the very small numbers remaining in the wild. Research is being carried out by various organisations to understand the wild populations and efforts are being made to protect their habitat and increase awareness of their plight.

Giraffe questions and answers

Do they make noises?
They do actually. They can whistle (honest), hiss and moo.

How tall is a giraffe when it's born?
A baby giraffe is usually around 6ft tall at birth. Wow! That's more than most fully grown adults.

How fast does a giraffe grow?
Pretty quick! Giraffe calves have been known to grow 2.5cm (1 inch) a day during the first seven days or so. Wow!

How long do giraffes live?
Their lifespan is roughly fifteen to twenty years.

What is a group of giraffes called?
You can take your pick from a herd, a corps, a troop or a tower. We like a tower of giraffes. It suits them.

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.