How Long Does It Take For A Giraffe To Throw Up?



When you think of giraffes, the first thing that comes to mind is their long necks. But what would happen if one of these animals needed to vomit and throw up?

Although giraffes have been rarely known to vomit, because of their long necks, it takes them about fifteen minutes to several hours to throw up. 

The giraffe is a fascinating and majestic animal. Its neck, which can be as long as six feet, allows it to reach leaves on high trees and bushes. 

Their ability to eat leaves off these tall plants gives them access to nutrients and water, which is a necessity in the desert-like climate where they live.

Having such a long neck has its benefits but also some drawbacks.

In this article, we’ll explore the possibility of what would happen if a giraffe needed to throw up. Let’s start with the anatomy.

How Long Does It Take For A Giraffe To Throw Up

Giraffes with up to 7-foot-long necks!

A giraffe’s neck can be up to six or seven feet long. Along with an extraordinarily long tongue, this allows them to reach the tops of trees and eat leaves from branches 15 feet high.

Surprisingly, giraffes and humans have only seven cervical vertebrae (neck vertebrae), but unlike humans, their vertebrae can be up to 10 inches long (25cm).

Giraffes have always been a fascinating example of how amazing evolution is. The ancestors of modern giraffes had to compete for food, and those with longer necks could reach more food, allowing them to thrive and reproduce.

In addition to foraging for food, the giraffe’s neck serves another purpose: fighting.

A study on reports that prehistoric giraffe ancestors had a helmet-like skull and bulky neck vertebrae. These were used to deliver skull-cracking collisions to rivals and woo mates.

two giraffes fighting with their necks

Giraffes are ruminants

One of the first things you should know about regurgitating giraffes is that they are ruminants. These are even-toed mammals that chew ‘cud’ regurgitated from their rumen.

This is a family that sheep, deer, cattle, and giraffes belong to.

This family of mammals is known to regurgitate their food from a central part of their stomach, in which the rumen makes its way back up to the mammal’s mouth so they can chew it more. This helps their digestive process. It is natural for food to make its way back up to the giraffe’s mouth.

This is true for both food and water for giraffes.

Food transported between stomach chambers to the mouth through the esophagus can cause a choking danger. Food and water can get stuck, which may cause choking and vomiting to remove the obstruction.

That being said, giraffes have been known to die from choking, as vomiting is far more complicated for them than it is for humans.  

Do giraffes throw up? …Yes, they do

The short answer is yes, they do. But there’s more to the story than that.

As alluded, a giraffe’s stomach is much like a cow’s. When humans throw up, the vomit comes directly from their stomach, through their esophagus, and out of their mouth.

When giraffes vomit, it comes out of their fourth stomach, passes through their third stomach, and passes through their second stomach before eventually going through their first stomach.

If the vomit happens to reach their first stomach, they will likely vomit.

So how often do they throw up, then?

They can and will vomit if they eat something bad or foreign that upsets their stomachs, but it’s not as expected.

Giraffes can keep eating until they’re full and have a full stomach, which is why most people don’t know much about throwing up. 

Even when they do vomit, it’s usually just a tiny amount of liquid before returning to normal eating habits (and maybe a few extra looks around for any predators).

Yes, giraffes have been timed throwing up

Since giraffes have incredibly long necks, it can take much longer for them to throw up than humans. It takes a giraffe about 15 minutes at a minimum to throw up.

It could even take several hours for them to vomit.

This would entirely depend on the size of the giraffe and the amount of food and water they had consumed.

giraffe stretching to eat from a tall tree

So, what’s the point of this all then?

The most common reason a giraffe throws up is food poisoning or sickness caused by bacteria in its digestive system rather than anything physical inside the animal itself.

As mentioned, giraffes throw up very rarely, though.

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