Q:

What do giraffes eat while in captivity?

A:

Quick Answer

Giraffes are fed a variety of fruits, vegetables and leaves in captivity, although each zoo offers a slightly different menu to these tall mammals. Among the common items offered to giraffes are lettuces, carrots, apples, bananas and alfalfa hay. Many zoos raise these food items high in the air to simulate the giraffe’s natural feeding behavior.

Continue Reading
What do giraffes eat while in captivity?
Credit: enjosmith CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

In addition to fruits and vegetables, zookeepers often provide their charges with leafy branches to eat. Some of the common trees used for this purpose include alders, elms, ficus, ash and poplar. When eating this type of food, giraffes grab a small branch with their tongues and use their upper lips to rip it off. This is necessary because giraffes do not have upper teeth.

Giraffes are rather gentle animals, and many zoos allow visitors to have some contact with them. Some zoos, such as Zoo Atlanta, allow visitors to feed the giraffes as well. Typically, large, leafy vegetables, such as romaine lettuce, are used in these contexts, as the large leaves make it easier for visitors to hold while the giraffe is feeding.

In the wild, giraffes use their tongues extensively. Many zoos attempt to encourage similar behavior in captivity, so they place food in small cages. That way, if the giraffe wants to eat the food inside the cage, it must use its tongue to extract the food.

Learn more about Giraffes

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did Lamarck explain why giraffes have long necks?

    A:

    Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist who had an alternate evolutionary theory of biology to that of Charles Darwin, explained that giraffes have long necks because as they reached for leaves in high branches of trees, their necks became longer and stronger. Their offspring, in turn, would inherit necks that were slightly longer.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do giraffes make noises?

    A:

    Giraffes are seldom heard, but they do make a variety of sounds. They grunt or snort to alert fellow herd members to danger. Other giraffe sounds include moos, snores, hisses and even flute-like noises.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do giraffes have vocal cords?

    A:

    Giraffes have vocal cords and exhibit a variety of sounds, including moaning, snoring, hissing and flutelike sounds, according to the San Diego Zoo. A calf bleats or mews to communicate with its mother, while the mother makes a roaring bellow to locate her young.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What types of sounds do giraffes make?

    A:

    Although they are rarely heard and often considered silent animals, giraffes communicate with each other through infrasonic sounds and can also produce a variety of vocal noises ranging from snorts and grunts to hisses and flute-like sounds. Calves are summoned by their mothers through whistling sounds and the young giraffes respond by mewing or bleating. When courting females, male giraffes may produce a loud and harsh coughing noise.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore