Werribee Open Range Zoo


See eye to eye with the world's tallest land animal at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

While the giraffe are not endangered, there is concern that the numbers of giraffe in the wild are decreasing. Poaching for the giraffe’s pelt, meat and tail has significantly reduced the wild population (the hair that grows at the end of the tail is used for threading beads and making bracelets). The expanding human population is encroaching on areas where giraffe formerly roamed freely.

Visiting the giraffes at the Zoo will not just open your eyes to these wondrous creatures, but you can also learn about the Zoo’s conservation program Beads for Wildlife, which helps communities and wildlife in Northern Kenya.

The giraffe lives in the African savannah. The open woodlands and grasslands of East Africa, particularly in Uganda, Sudan and Kenya, are home to the Rothschild Giraffe. There are nine subspecies of giraffe, and all have a characteristic walk, moving the legs on the same side of the body simultaneously. The subspecies are distinguished from each other by their coat patterns and geographical locations.

Giraffes are nearly 2 metres in height when born and males can reach a height of more than 5 metres when fully grown. Excellent eyesight and a good sense of hearing are features of all giraffe subspecies. A giraffe can see a human standing 2km away. When they are alarmed, giraffe may snort or grunt and they can run at a speed of 60km/h if they are being pursued. In order to defend itself, a giraffe will kick vigorously with its front legs.

Acacia leaves form the bulk of the giraffe’s diet, but other trees are also browsed. A male, or bull, can eat up to 80kg of leaves each day, along with bark and fruit. 

Meet the animals


Born 2008

Kona is a relaxed giraffe, happy to just go wth the flow. You can tell which one he is as he is much darker than the others. 


Born 2007

Thembi is very motivated by food and is the ‘greedy guts’ of the group. He eats everything in sight including sunglasses etc. if the keepers are not careful! He is the tallest (only just!) and is the leader of the herd. 


Born 2007

He is much shyer than his half-brother Thembi. He takes a while to adapt to change.


Born 2008

A very cute and shy giraffe, Harold loves to lick the bus windows. He’s great mates with Ajali.


Born May 2010

The youngest (and smallest) giraffe in the herd, Ajali is often nicknamed A.J. He is best mates with Harold and likes to accompany him everywhere.
As he gets older, he is coming out of his shell and really enjoys participating in the ‘Tall Order’ Wild Encounter. He is a curious giraffe and often checks out the rhinos at close range when he is feeling brave.


Born March 2010

Jelani came to Werribee back in 2011 from Auckland Zoo where he was born in 2010. Jelani is very cheeky and has lots of energy! He is the 'class clown' of the giraffe herd. He gets very excited over food and can be a bit bossy at times.  

Changing Places1

Changing Places

Melbourne Zoo is constantly changing, with new and upgraded surroundings for both the wildlife and Zoo visitors.

A very special new facility opened this morning that will ensure that the Zoo is more accessible and convenient than ever for all Victorians and visitors to the State.

21 September 2015
Giraffe Harold Birthday

Happy Birthday Harold!

Giraffe Harold will mark his seventh birthday on 19 September at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

To mark the occasion he enjoyed an early birthday treat with the herd, a bouquet of wattle – a giraffe favourite and an excellent way to mark the start of spring.

18 September 2015
Shadowfax winery

Shadowfax and the Savannah

Werribee Open Range Zoo and Shadowfax Wines have joined forces to create the perfect day of wine and wildlife at Werribee Park.

Tall Order Giraffe Encounter video

Giraffe Feed Encounter

Get up close and personal with a giraffe at Werribee Open Range Zoo and learn more about this fascinating animal.

Did you know?
  • The giraffe is the tallest of all mammals, males reaching a height of about 5.5 metres and females about 5 metres
  • To circulate blood all through this tall body, the giraffe has the biggest heart of any animal, weighing about 12kg!
  • A giraffe’s tongue can reach up to 45cm long and 8cm wide! The tongue’s dark colour prevents blistering in the sun
  • Always alert for danger, giraffes sleep for approximately two hours a day, and catch quick 5–6 minute naps for the rest of the time
  • Close to 2 metres long, the giraffe’s neck has seven vertebrae like other mammals, just longer. The long neck means great changes in blood pressure as a giraffe lowers or raises its head, so special blood vessels and valves compensate. Without this adaptation, giraffes would faint when blood pressure increased