We all know giraffes are one of the tallest animals on the planet, standing at around 19 feet, fully grown. However, their weight is often much less discussed and also quite impressive. So, how much do giraffes weigh?
Giraffes typically weigh between 1,100 pounds (680 kg) and 4,250 pounds (1,930 kg). The main factors that affect the weight of the giraffe are the specific species, with Masai giraffes being the heaviest, as well as gender. Male bulls are typically a lot larger and heavier than females.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different weights of giraffes, their anatomy, and other interesting facts about these gentle giants.
How much does an adult giraffe weigh?
Adult giraffes generally weigh between 1,100 and 4,250 pounds. This animal’s weight fluctuates greatly depending on its sex, age, and specific species.
Mostly, male giraffes weigh between 2,600 and 4,250 pounds at maturity. The type of giraffe and where they live can play a role in their size, though.
The largest male giraffe ever recorded was a Masai bull that stood 19 feet tall and weighed around 5,000 pounds.
Generally speaking, adult female giraffes will weigh between 1,100 and 1,800 pounds at peak maturity. Their weight will increase quite a bit during pregnancy and, like males, can differ significantly depending on their specific species.
How much do captive giraffes weigh?
Adult giraffes living in captivity will rarely ever reach their maximum height or weight compared to those living in the wild.
The weight difference has a lot to do with their diets. Most giraffes in the wild rely on massive amounts of acacia as their primary food source.
Since it is improbable for these facilities to supply them with the volume of acacia they need, these animals are provided restricted supplemental diets.
Some scientists believe these diets cause growth changes and hormonal imbalances in giraffes, which stunt their growth.
How much does a baby giraffe weigh?
Baby giraffes are born a massive size compared to most newborns. On average, a newborn giraffe comes out of the womb at a whopping 120 to 150 pounds (55 to 70 kg).
These little animals are also born standing around six feet tall, providing them the much-needed height to stand any chance of survival in the wild.
While this may already sound big to many people, they don’t stay this small for long.
Baby giraffes will grow substantially within the first year of their lives and continue rapidly until they reach four-five years of age, which is when they reach full maturity and adulthood.
Types of giraffes and their weight
As most giraffes look pretty similar, many people aren’t aware of the four different species of giraffes and their subspecies.
There are four types of giraffes mainly cited by zoologists and scientists, and their sizes differ significantly.
- Masai Giraffe: The Masai Giraffes are the heaviest species in the world, with the males maxing out at around 4,250 pounds and the females reaching about 2,600 pounds in the wild.
- Northern Giraffe: The Northern giraffe will typically weigh around 2,800 pounds, and the females weigh in at about 1,800 pounds. Specific subspecies, like the Kordofan giraffe, are a lot smaller than the typical Nubian giraffe subspecies, for example.
- Reticulated Giraffe: Male Reticulated giraffes can weigh up to 4,200 pounds, with females coming in at 2,600 pounds.
- Southern Giraffe: Southern giraffe’s male bulls can weigh up to 2,650 pounds, while their female counterparts can reach almost 2,000 pounds.
Why do giraffes weigh so much?
It is easy to understand why giraffes are so tall. You can physically see their long necks, and it isn’t hard to miss those lean legs. However, these leaf-munching monsters don’t appear as heavy as they are.
So, why do they weigh so much when they seem so thin?
Giraffe’s basic anatomy
When you look at a bear, bull, or rhino, it is pretty easy to see why these creatures weigh so much. Each animal is broad and muscular, making them the ideal predator and the king of its domain.
When you look at a giraffe, you can immediately tell they are more likely to be prey than predator. However, these beasts can weigh more than a compact SUV at maximum weight; how?
1. A giraffes heart
The internal organs of an animal rarely get any credit for the amount these creatures weigh. A giraffe’s heart can weigh up to 25 pounds though, and is approximately two feet long.
A giraffe’s heart is so large because it requires a lot of power to pump blood throughout its extremely long body and up its very long neck.
2. A giraffe’s neck
It is easy to understand how a giraffe’s neck can add a significant amount of weight to the animal’s total body mass. But, it is hard to believe this part of them can weigh around 600 pounds.
That means this mammal has to lift something the weight of a baby grand piano into the air every time it wants to eat.
3. A Giraffe’s Brain
While the rest of the animal’s body adds a lot of weight to its overall size, the brain is one part that isn’t very large.
The average giraffe’s brain only weighs roughly 1.6 pounds; this is about half the size of a human’s brain. Although their brains are relatively small, they are known to be quite intelligent creatures.
Final thoughts on the weight of a giraffe
Although they don’t look like it, giraffes are just as heavy as they are tall. While they are known for being the tallest animal walking on dry land, they are also considered one of the heaviest.
These massive beings start heavy at birth and continue to grow for four years, with some reaching a gigantic 4,250 pounds at full-size.