5 Facts for World Giraffe Day

June 13, 2024

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen © WCS

It’s almost World Giraffe Day! Learn something new about these gentle giants and then share your knowledge to inspire others about the importance of protecting them!

1. Giraffes sleep in short segments of only 1 to 35 minutes.

These towering creatures have one of the shortest sleep requirements in the animal kingdom, sleeping only about 4 hours in a 24-hour period. This enables them to stay vigilant against predators.

2. The heart of a giraffe weighs roughly 25 pounds and is powerful enough to pump blood all the way up its long neck to the brain.

The immense size and strength of their hearts help to maintain adequate blood flow against gravity. They also have naturally high blood pressure, which is necessary to push all of that blood upward. (Their blood pressure is about twice that of an average human!)

3. A giraffe’s spots are like human fingerprints: no two individuals have exactly the same pattern.

These distinctive coat patterns provide camouflage, thermal regulation, and are also unique to each giraffe, helping others recognize individuals.

4. They fight with their necks.

Male giraffes use their necks as weapons in a behavior known as "necking" to fight over females. These battles can be quite intense, and are believed to establish dominance.

5. There are nine subspecies of giraffe!

While giraffes are considered one species, there are nine subspecies—all with slightly different characteristics and living within their own geographically distinct areas throughout Africa.

We need your help

Your tax-deductible gift supports cutting-edge exhibits, first-class animal care, and in-depth research to help threatened wildlife survive and thrive.

Sign Up for Email Updates

Get news from the field and learn about ways you can help Earth’s most threatened species.