What Are the Predators and Prey of the Giraffe?

predators-prey-giraffe Credit: Valentina Storti/CC-BY-2.0

Giraffes are strict herbivores that eat seedpods, flowers, leaves and fruit. While their size and ability to see predators at great distances help them to avoid most predators, lions, hyenas, leopards and crocodiles occasionally catch and eat giraffes.

The giraffe’s long legs and neck evolved to enable them to reach food that most other animals cannot access. However, their tall stature also helps them to see predators at a great distance and move off before they are in danger.

Giraffes are restricted to the savannas and open forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Usually, predators avoid healthy adult giraffes and concentrate on young, injured or old animals, who cannot mount an effective defense. Giraffes have a cream base color that is covered in dark brown reticulations. This color and pattern combination helps to break up their silhouette when they are foraging among the trees. When cornered by a predator, giraffes often deliver powerful kicks with their legs.

Acacia trees are the most important food species for giraffes. According to the University of Michigan, Department of Zoology, adult giraffes may consume up to 145 pounds of food each day. However, in areas where food is scarce, they may survive by eating much less. Male giraffes tend to forage at the greatest heights, while females collect food from the bottom of the tree canopy.