Fun Northern Giraffe Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 10, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 29, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Discover more about this interesting animal by reading these northern giraffe facts.

The northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is from the family Giraffidae and is native to Africa. It is found in the southern part of the Sahara to the eastern part of the Transvaal, Natal, and Botswana range. The habitat of these giraffes includes grasslands, woodlands, arid and drylands.

These giraffes are polygynous and before the mating process, bulls are known to guard the estrous females against other males. They also engage in courtship rituals like a urine test, rubbing their head on the rump of the female. A female that is receptive will circle the male and will take a mating position after which copulation takes place.

In the rainy season, conception takes place and the female giraffes are known to give birth between May and August. Female giraffes tend to breed every 20-30 months.

The gestation period is around 457 days long. Females are known to give birth to the calves while walking or standing. The weaning period ranges from 12-16 days.

This giraffe has a spotted coat and no two giraffes have the same patches and coat pattern. The body is yellow and black and helps in camouflage.

The legs of this mammal are strong and long and the front legs are longer than the hind legs. The tail of this giraffe is long and slender and both males and females tend to have horns but the horns of males are thicker than their counterparts.

The head and neck of males are known to be longer than their counterparts.

The eyes are large and the tongue is black. Giraffes are known to grunt, hiss, whistle to communicate.

The food of these mammals consists of seed pods, flowers, fruits, and leaves from trees and requires water once in a few days. Giraffes are considered to be the tallest and fastest mammals.

These giraffes tend to rub and intertwine their necks when fighting and use their horns. Some of these giraffe subspecies include the Kordofan giraffe, West African giraffe, and Nubian giraffe.

It is very interesting to learn about this northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and if you are interested, read about the reticulated giraffe and striped hyena, too.

Northern Giraffe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a northern giraffe?

The northern giraffe is a type of giraffe. It is also referred to as a three-horned giraffe.

What class of animal does a northern giraffe belong to?

It belongs to the class of Mammalia.

How many northern giraffes are there in the world?

The current estimated population of this species is around 5195 individuals.

Where does a northern giraffe live?

This species is native to Africa and the range of this giraffe is from the southern part of the Sahara to the eastern part of Transvaal, Natal, and Botswana. It is believed that Niger has some residual population and these giraffes have also been reintroduced in South Africa.

It might also be found in some wildlife reserves. These giraffe species have been recorded to live in Algeria from the early Pleistocene in the Quarternary period where the west African giraffes were also found.

What is a northern giraffe's habitat?

The types of habitat these giraffes inhabit are arid and drylands. Regions with acacia growth are preferred. These giraffes are found in open woodlands, grasslands, and savannas.

Who do the northern giraffes live with?

These giraffes are found in unstable, loose, and open herds of around 10-20 individuals. The herd size can be smaller or bigger, too.

Giraffes are known to be social animals. Male giraffes are known to establish hierarchies through sparring, that is, two male giraffes standing parallel and stiff-legged. Necks are rubbed and intertwined to assess the strength of the opponent and then horns are used to hit on the rump, neck, or flanks.

How long does a northern giraffe live?

These giraffes are known to live for about 10-15 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction system of these giraffes is known to be polygynous. The bulls tend to guard the estrous females against others.

Courtship involved a urine test of the females where males tend to smell the urine of the giraffes. After this, a male rubs his head on the rump of the female and rests on her back.

The male is also known to lick the tail of the female and the foreleg is lifted. If the female is receptive, it will circle the male, the tail will be held out and thus, a mating position will be taken and then the copulation will take place.

The conception is known to take place in the rainy season and the birth is given in the dry months. It is believed that births take place between May and August and females of this species are known to breed every 20-30 months.

The gestation period lasts for about 457 days. Birth is given while standing or walking.

A single calf is born and twins are rare. The newborns can get on their feet and begin suckling in about fifteen minutes after they are born.

The weaning period ranges from 12-16 days. Sexual maturity is reached at the age of about three to four years for females and four to five years for males.

What is their conservation status?

 These giraffes are placed under the Vulnerable category of conservation status. Most of the giraffe species are Endangered, whereas, some like the Angolan giraffe have the Least Concern status.

As it is known that these giraffes have been reintroduced in South Africa, it has been recorded that the introduction has been done in the game reserves in South Africa. These giraffes are also found in some protected areas like some wildlife reserves.

Northern Giraffe Fun Facts

What do northern giraffes look like?

This giraffe species tend to have a spotted coat. The coat pattern and patches might differ among the giraffes and the patches' size might be small, medium, or large and this spotted coat helps camouflage in varying habitats.

The color of the coat can be yellow and black and can be fuzzy or sharp-edged. The legs of this giraffe species are strong and long and the front legs are known to be longer than the back legs.

The neck of the giraffe is known to have seven extended vertebrae. The back of this giraffe species from the shoulders towards the rump is sharply sloped.

The tail is long and slender and has a black tuft at the end which helps in removing flies and insects.

Giraffes tend to have horns that are actually bone protuberances that are covered with fur and skin. The horns of the female and male are slightly different as the females have thin horns that are tufted, whereas, the horns of the males are thick and the hair is smooth.

The eyes of the giraffe are quite large and the tongue is black in color and is long and helps them feed on the trees. Females are known to be shorter than males.

Fun Northern Giraffe Facts For Kids

How cute are they?

Giraffes are considered cute because of their colors.

How do they communicate?

Communication of giraffes takes place through infrasonic sounds, but they also use grunts, whistles, hisses, snores, and moans to communicate with each other. These giraffes are considered to be silent animals and not frequently heard.

How big is a northern giraffe?

This tallest giraffe species is around 157.5-240 in (400-610 cm) tall. The northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is known to be the world's tallest mammal.

How fast can a northern giraffe run?

Giraffes can run at speeds of about 35 mph (56 kph). Giraffes are also considered to be fast-moving animals.

How much does a northern giraffe weigh?

The weight of males of this species is up to 4255 lb (1930 kg), whereas, females weigh around 2602 lb (1180 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males of this species are known as bulls and females are referred to as cows.

What would you call a baby northern giraffe?

Babies of giraffes are referred to as calves, but there is no specific name for a young one of Giraffa camelopardalis.

What do they eat?

This Vulnerable species of giraffe tends to feed on fruits, flowers, leaves, and seed pods from the trees. It is also known to eat soil sometimes. Giraffes need to drink water once every few days.

Are they dangerous?

In general, giraffes are known to not be dangerous, but there have been certain instances in the past where giraffes have proved to be fatal to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal to keep giraffes as pets in most states.

Did you know...

Some giraffes that are considered to be subspecies of the northern giraffe include the Kordofan giraffe, West African giraffe, and Nubian giraffe which are also found in west Africa.

It has been observed that the pattern of the skin of the giraffe remains the same throughout its life with just some seasonal variations.

The horns of the giraffes are known as ossicones. The horns of the northern giraffe are known to be larger and longer than that of a southern giraffe.

After three to four weeks of the birth of the young ones, mothers tend to put them into creches groups and when it is done, the mother tends to go long distances in search of food for the young calves to feed and the mothers take turns for guarding the young calves in the group.

Mothers tend to come back before nightfall.

Eating and drinking of giraffes are done in the morning and evening and resting takes place at the night.

These giraffes are known to rest and sleep standing and lie down occasionally.

There was a misbelief that giraffes have two hearts but it is not the case, they only have one heart.

What are the four types of giraffes?

The four types of giraffes are southern giraffe, northern giraffe, reticulated giraffe, and Masai giraffe and all these types are found in Africa only.

What are the northern giraffes' predators?

The animals that prey on the northern giraffes include leopards, lions, wild dogs such as African wild dogs, and hyenas. Crocodiles are also considered to be the predators of giraffes as they might prey on them when they drink water near the water surface.

 Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our Bornean orangutan fun facts or pine marten interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable giraffe with glasses coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

Read full bio >