Everything You Need for Shavuot at Home   Go
Giraffes
 

The giraffe is a gorgeous and gentle creature that stands out among animals like a skyscraper among buildings. He is by far the tallest of the animals and he grows up to 20 feet high! There are no taller living things in the world except trees. The giraffe’s legs are tall enough for a man to pass between them without bending his head!

The giraffe has attractive patterns on his skin and large beautiful dark brown eyes with long eyelashes. He also has a keen sense of smell, hearing and sight, but he almost never makes a noise. A few years ago it was discovered that giraffes communicate with each other using infrasonic sounds - frequencies below the range of human hearing.

 

Giraffe Nature: The world would be better off if people and nations would act more like giraffes: Giraffes are peaceful creatures that don’t attack unless under threat, and they don’t discriminate against other giraffes with different skin patterns. (Giraffe skin patterns are like human fingerprints – no two giraffes are identical.)

Have a big heart: The giraffe’s heart is 2 feet long, and weighs 24 pounds. A person’s heart is much smaller – the size of a clenched fist, and weights only 11 ounces. While we can’t compete with the giraffe’s mammoth heart, the giraffe could inspire us to have a big heart in another sense, by filling our heart with kindness and compassion.

Be a leader: A giraffe’s extraordinary gift of height symbolizes leadership. The Torah describes Saul, the first Jewish king, as being taller than the rest of the nation, physically and spiritually. Every boy and girl can be a leader by showing empathy to those less fortunate than themselves, and by holding themselves to a higher standard. By doing this, they can truly be ‘taller’ than their surroundings.

 
 

 

Listen to a Giraffe munch on some leaves

Watch a video of Giraffes

 



A giraffe has an 18-inch purple tongue!

A giraffe sleeps only 2 hours a day. Giraffes usually rest with one eye open to stay alert, and in a standing position, to avoid attack. In deep sleep a giraffe bends his necks backwards and rests it on his back.

Giraffes stand when giving birth, so the baby’s first experience in life is to plunge about 5 feet to the ground!

Remarkably, even with its long neck, a giraffe only has seven vertebrae (neck-bones) typical of most mammals. That’s the same as that of a little mouse!

In open country, when it is attacked or alarmed, the giraffe can speed along at 32 miles per hour.

A giraffe’s kick is strong enough to kill a lion. (Lions will attack a giraffe only when the giraffe is in an awkward and vulnerable position, such as when it reaches down to drink.)

Parent's Tip: Ask your child to notice if there is anything strange in the way a giraffe walks. (A giraffe moves both legs on the same side of the body simultaneously. This produces an even swaying motion like a ship riding the waves.)

 

The giraffe is a cud-chewing animal, and its feet have cloven hoofs. Thus it possesses the two signs, or characteristics, which make it a kosher animal. Some equate the giraffe with the zemer, mentioned in the Torah as one of the 10 types of kosher animals.

A common misconception is that giraffe meat is not eaten because we don’t know where on the neck to slaughter it (as prescribed by the laws of Kashrut). In fact, the giraffe can be slaughtered anywhere on its 6-foot-long neck. But giraffes are rare and expensive, so don’t expect to see roasted giraffe chunks at your next Bar Mitzvah dinner.


Since giraffes are so tall, they can see into the distance and notice predators when they are still far away. Some scientists believe that other animals, such as zebras or antelopes, like to be close to giraffes so they will get an early warning if a predator comes. If you are lost in the African Sahara and you want to know in advance when a lion is approaching, stay close to the giraffes.