How Fast is a Giraffe?

June 1, 2023

What’s the fastest giraffe?

A giraffe can run up to 38 miles per hour, but they cannot maintain that speed for long periods. Their tall necks make them awkward looking runners, but they allow them to reach leaves high in the trees. Their spotted coats help them blend in with their environment. They are also able to use their long tongues to extract water.

When they are not galloping to escape predators, giraffes walk at a brisk pace of 10 miles an hour. During a stride, their front legs move together first, and then their back legs. This unique gait enables them to conserve energy by reducing the amount of weight on their hindquarters. Their elongated front legs also help them to bend down to drink, by spreading their forelegs.

Because their heads are so far from their hearts, giraffes have specialized blood vessels in their necks to help them maintain a normal blood pressure. They can also rely on their incredibly strong legs, which can carry up to 4,200 pounds.

Baby giraffes can run within an hour of birth, but only over short distances. They do not have the legs or stamina to keep up with Mom over much more than that. But if the calf is spotted by a lion or other predator, she will stop to defend her young with kicks powerful enough to kill an adult giraffe. That’s why it is important to keep your baby giraffe in the correct habitat.


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