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Werribee Open Range Zoo


Giraffes are thought to be one of the largest pollinators in the world, transferring seeds and other plant matter from one tree to another on their noses, lips and tongues. 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.

Giraffes are nearly 2 metres in height when first 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! Although giraffes don’t have a distinct sound easily identifiable to them, they do communicate with one another through snorts, grunts and low grumbling.

Giraffes have a very characteristic walk of moving both legs on the same side of the body simultaneously so they don’t trip themselves up! If alarmed or being chased, giraffes can run at speeds of 60km/h. In order to defend itself a giraffe will kick out vigorously with its long and powerful legs. Male giraffes will also use their powerful necks and the horn-like ossicones on the top of their head to ‘play fight’ as they are growing up, and to battle for dominance when they are older.

Giraffe are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN red list). Poaching for the giraffe’s pelt, meat and tail has significantly reduced wild populations (the hair that grows at the end of the tail is used for threading beads and making bracelets for the tourist trade). Continued human population growth is encroaching on areas where giraffe formerly roamed freely resulting in competition for natural resources, habitat degradation and fragmentation. Civil unrest and armed conflict in several countries has also had a major impact on giraffe distribution across the African continent.

Visiting our giraffes at the Zoo will not only open your eyes to these wondrous, sky-scraping mega-herbivores, but also provides an opportunity to get involved in Zoos Victoria's Beads for Wildlife conservation program, which helps communities and wildlife in Northern Kenya.


Born 2008

While Harold is quite a shy and cautious giraffe, keeping close to herd mate Ajali, he is really building up his confidence, especially when it comes to his daily weigh-in.


Born 2010

The youngest and smallest giraffe in the herd, Ajali is nicknamed AJ. He is best mates with Harold and likes to accompany him everywhere. He is a curious giraffe and often checks out the rhinos at close range when he is feeling brave.


Born 2008

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


Born 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. 


Born 2007

Amani is gentle, and much shyer than his half-brother Thembi. He takes a little longer than the others in the group to adapt to change.

Giraffes at Werribee Zoo

Werribee Zoo celebrates World Giraffe Day

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s six male giraffes have an extra spring in their step today.

Thembi, Harold, Ajali, Kona, Jelani and Amani are in for an enjoyable afternoon of grazing and basking in the winter sunshine on the zoo’s Lower Savannah to celebrate a very special occasion.

21 June 2018
Lance, Kath, giraffe cake

The sky's the limit for giraffe Harold on his ninth birthday!

Harold the giraffe held his head high at Werribee Open Range Zoo as he celebrated his ninth birthday! In honour of the occasion, Zoos Victoria’s volunteers Terri, Val and Jane made him a special cake with giraffe friendly ingredients - lucerne, giraffe pellets, celery and carrots.

19 September 2017
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.

Giraffe Encounter Video at Werribee

Giraffe Feed Encounter

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

  • 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