Giraffes are one of the most unique animals in the world. They are famous for their long necks which can reach leaves in high trees and their eyes which are able to scan the area for predators. But what about their speed? How fast can a giraffe run?
The top speed of a giraffe is 60 km/h which is relatively slow compared to their height. However, this can only be maintained for short distances as it is very difficult to sprint on giraffe legs. Most of the time giraffes run in a peculiar loping fashion, with their left legs followed by their right. Their normal cruising speed is around 16 km/h which is very impressive for such an enormous animal.
There is only one species of giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, but there are nine subspecies with distinct geographical ranges and skin patterns. It is unclear if there are any differences in the top speeds of these subspecies but it is unlikely given their size and weight.
One interesting fact about giraffes is that they can go for long periods without drinking water. This is because their tongues are very prehensile and can wrap around leaves and twigs. They also have to bend down a lot to drink water, spreading their front legs wide and craning their neck downward. It is a very awkward position and can leave them vulnerable to predators like crocodiles.