Giraffes may live in a herd of 30-50 individuals. Males will often fight over females by kicking or striking each other with the horns on their heads. Giraffes have these horns from birth, making them the only animals that don’t grow their horns later in life.
Giraffes are known to eat leaves from the thorny acacia tree. Their 18-inch tongue is dark purple to protect from sunburn, and covered in slime to protect from harsh thorns. A male giraffe may eat as much as 70 lbs. of vegetation in a single day. Giraffes are similar to cows in that they chew their cud (regurgitated food) after eating and then re- swallow it for digestion.
Weather permitting, guests may feed the giraffes for $5.00. The giraffe feeding station is open from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:15-3:30 p.m. daily, and until 4:00 on weekends.
Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
Habitat: African Savannah
Diet in the wild: Leaves from acacia, mimosa, and sausage trees
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Sweet feed, Caldwell Zoo pellets, alfalfa
Size: Females are generally 13-15 feet in height, while males can reach 18-19 feet.
Family: Female giraffes will “babysit” each other’s offspring
Did you know? Giraffes have a prehensile tongue
Marjani was a shy boy when he arrived from the Bronx Zoo in 2014, but he has grown a lot over past few years and loves human interaction more than ever. He is a Rothchild giraffe, meaning he has both different colors & pattern variations than our females. He is a smart, young giraffe who loves to train with his keepers and is usually the giraffe eating lettuce from zoo guests at the feeding deck. Some of his quirks include flapping his ears and getting his nose into places it doesn’t belong! His favorite foods are carrots and sweet potatoes, although he also enjoys his alfalfa hay and grain! His name in Swahili means “Coral.”
Nyela is known as the giraffe that is always sticking her tongue out. Whether she’s training with her keepers or eating lettuce at the feeding station, odds are her tongue is out. When on exhibit, she usually can be found overlooking the serpentine walkway; we like to call her the “watch guard” of the zoo because she’s always staring at people. When she gets fed, her tongue wraps around the food and she will eat as much food as you can give her. Nyela loves puzzle feeders filled with carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes. Nyela’s name is Swahili for “One Who Succeeds.”
Cricket is considered to be our food hog! She is always the first one to eat the browse, grain, and puzzle feeders. She loves to train with her keepers and learns very quickly. If you get your head too close to her face, she will lick you aggressively with her tongue, which can hurt more times than not since her tongue is very rough. She mostly loves carrots and sweet potatoes over any other produce. Cricket is originally from the Denver Zoo and came to the Caldwell Zoo around 2011, where she later gave birth in 2014 to her first calf, Knox.