Would you like to learn about giraffes? Whether you are doing a report on giraffes or you just adore these cuddly animals, here’s everything you need to know: giraffe facts for kids, books about giraffes, plus videos, games, and more!
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10 Facts to Learn about Giraffes
- Giraffes are the tallest animal on Earth, and even newborns are about 2 m (6 ft.) tall and weigh 70 kg (150 lb.)- with males being heavier and taller than the females.
- Giraffes have a huge, black tongue, so that it won’t get sunburn! Their extreme height lets them eat the leaves that grow higher than other animals can reach, especially off the acacia tree. Giraffes use their 18 inch long tongues to pull the leaves from the trees.
- Like many herbivores, giraffes spend a lot of their time eating! They eat more than 45 kg (100 lb.) of leaves and twigs a day.
- Because they are so tall, giraffes can see predators from a distance on the flat grasslands. Some believe that zebras, antelope, and wildebeests hang out near giraffes to take advantage of their ability to see danger from far away.
- The earliest name for giraffe is Arabic word zarafah زرافة, translated as “fast-walker.” And they are fast- they can run 35 miles an hour! In Afrikaans, giraffes are called kameelperd. They are twiga in Swahili and ndlulamithi in Zulu.
- Giraffes live in the savannah, woodlands, and grasslands of Kenya, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, and South Africa.
- Giraffes usually sleep around 2 hours a day, usually with lots of 10 minute naps spread throughout the day.
- The predators of giraffes are lions: calves (young giraffes) are in danger of lion attacks while they are young. Adult giraffes are generally tall enough to avoid lion attacks, though they still have to be careful when resting.
- Giraffe numbers are declining; they face threats from humans logging for firewood and destroying their habitat. Giraffes are also hunted for their meat, hides, and tails.
- The spots on a giraffe’s coat help the animals camouflage against predators. Under the skin, surrounding the patches, are blood vessels that release body heat and allow the giraffes to cool down.
Books to Learn about Giraffes
I am a Little Giraffe by Francois Crozat is a sweet little book for toddlers through preschoolers to learn about giraffes with age-appropriate facts.
Amazing Animals: Giraffes by Valerie Bodden is part of a great non-fiction series for kids. The pictures and wild facts about their appearance, behavior, and habitat helps kids learn about giraffes in a simple and straightforward way.
Giraffes by Jill Anderson is another simple book- with fabulous close-up photos- about giraffes for kids. Very easy to read and understand.
A Giraffe Grows Up by Amanda Doering Tourville is a great way to introduce reading nonfiction, scientific books for kids. It is easy to follow and full of facts for kids to learn about giraffes.
A Giraffe Goes to Paris by Mary Tavener Holmes is the true story of a giraffe that sailed from Alexandria, Egypt, to France in 1827, beloved by everyone who saw it. This book, and the following, made me and my kids a little sad at how humans exploit animals- but I do think the history has to be told in order for kids to develop compassion and hopefully fight to protect animals in the future.
Chee-Lin: A Giraffe’s Journey by James Rumford tells the story of a giraffe that is captured in 1412 and travels from present-day Kenya to India to China through the Indian Ocean trade routes. Stunning illustrations and touching story.
Videos about Giraffes
Web Sites and Lesson Plans to Learn about Giraffes
Project Explore has a great lesson plan about giraffes for upper elementary level. “Students learn about the unique physical characteristics of the giraffe species and subspecies, and will explore how different subspecies’ possess unique characteristics based on their geographic location.”
The San Diego Zoo has a lot of information on the giraffe, and also conservation efforts.
The American Wildlife Foundation is a great site to see a map with exact locations of giraffes, challenges and solutions, and much, much more.
This post is a part of a great series about animals from A-Z. Check out all of the posts here: