What Do Giraffes Eat In Their Surrounding To Survive?

Updated: 01 Aug 2022


giraffe eating accacia leaves

It is a commonly asked question, What do giraffes eat?

The world's tallest land animal, the giraffe, is a complete herbivore, requiring full chewing of food to obtain nutrients. They belong to the group of animals known as even-toed ungulates, including deer, sheep, and cows. A giraffe's typical diet consists of leaves and seeds, with one animal consuming about 75 pounds of food a day. Sometimes these animals also prefer to eat fruits, vegetables, and grass.

Giraffes have the advantage of being large in that they can eat leaves from the tops of tall trees. It is easy for them to reach the high tops of the trees where other animals cannot reach and therefore can easily graze from the trees. Because male giraffes are tall, they eat from the top of the tree while leaving the lower leaves for the female.

In the article, we will explore the giraffe's diet and food. Next, we will discuss: what does a giraffe eat?

What Do Giraffes Eat?

Giraffes generally like to eat acacia leaves. But acacia leaves also have thorns that other animals cannot eat. But giraffes can easily eat these leaves without any problem with the help of their long tongues. Their thick saliva protects them from all kinds of thorns they may unknowingly eat while eating leaves. Besides leaves, their diet also includes seasonal flowers, which provide double the protein.

Researchers have discovered that female giraffes prefer to eat more nutritious herbs than male giraffes. The diet of female giraffes is completely nutritious, while the diet of males is high in fiber. From this, we can infer that female giraffes are healthy and active even in the dry season when food is scarce.

Giraffes are entirely herbivores, and their diet consists of plants and leaves as well as seeds, buds, tree branches, and grass. Researchers have discovered that giraffes prefer to eat 85% of the new shoots of acacia.

Giraffes are generally browsers, not grazers, which suggests that they prefer to eat primarily large plants rather than grass and small plants. A giraffe's diet consists of simple leaves and fruits, but they are famous worldwide for their eating habits.

Giraffes sometimes chew the bones of other animals to meet their nutritional needs so that their bodies do not lack nutrients. This action is called osteophagy. Giraffes chew bones until their dietary needs are met and spit out the bone later.

When we talk about the giraffe diet, the most exciting thing about it is the way it eats. They have many good habits that help them eat as they roam about 18 hours a day in search of food. Generally, giraffes eat 1.5% to 2.0% of their body weight daily.

A long black tongue, tall stature, and missing upper front teeth are some great factors that help giraffes to eat. A giraffe's long tongue and tall stature help it reach food. Giraffes lack upper front teeth that help them chew branches and tear leaves.

Sources Of Foods For Giraffes In The Wild

In the wild, they mainly feed on the leaves and buds of trees and shrubs. They also eat herbs, seeds, and fruits and will prefer seasonal flowers and fruits. Giraffes consume very little grass as food.

Giraffes spend most of the day eating because each bite results in only a few leaves. They prefer to eat the leaves of acacia trees. These trees have long thorns that most wildlife are unable to eat.

A giraffe's diet consists mainly of leaves, but the animals sometimes graze on grass. But, drinking water is a difficult task. To reach land, they have to stretch their legs far and bend at the knees to reach the water. In this situation, they are easy targets for predators. This is why they prefer to eat and try to get water from leaves.

Giraffes are ruminants like cows, sheep, and goats. Their stomach has four parts for digesting food. First, they chew the leaves and swallow them back into the throat. So they keep chewing it again to complete the digestion process. They tend to eat more when it's cool in the morning and evening, so they spend the heat of the day chewing their cud. Here is the list of some trees, leaves, and fruits that giraffes prefer to eat.


Acacia trees, Mimosa, Wild apricot, Vachellia, and Senegalia, are some trees that giraffes like to eat in their surroundings. Apart from this, they also like to eat fruits from different trees.


Acacia tree leaves are giraffes' favorite food. Giraffes eat about thirty-four kilograms of food a day and spend most of their time actively searching for food. Apart from this, they also like to eat grass, but the grass is a tiny part of their diet.


There are no fruits for giraffes in the wild. Mostly they eat acacia tree twigs, branches, and leaves. Sometimes they find some fruits to eat in the bushes. While in zoos, they eat bananas and other fruits.

Last Words

Giraffes mostly eat plants that are easily accessible to them. Sometimes they also like to eat some grass. But to eat short grasses close to the ground, they have to make difficult movements, including bending at the knees and extending their front legs. If you want to know what giraffes eat, read the above article thoroughly.

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