Giraffes

Giraffes are the tallest land animals. The reticulated giraffes at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay have irregular-shaped, tan colored spots surrounded by a network of bright white lines on their fur. Reticulated giraffes are found in northeastern Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Look up and see nature’s tallest animal on a Serengeti Safari® or from the Serengeti Express train ride.

The 65-acre Serengeti Plain® features free-roaming herds of giraffe, zebra, antelope and ostrich, and is accessible to guests via the Serengeti Safari® tour, the Serengeti Express train, or from several viewing points along the Edge of Africa® pathway. In a cooperative effort with other AZA (American Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions, Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay closely manages its giraffe population through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.

Q: What animal is most closely related to a giraffe?

BG: Some scientists believe that the giraffe family is related to the deer family because deer antlers are thought to have originated as bony projections, similar to giraffes. Other scientists believe the giraffe family is distantly related to the antelope family because both antelopes and giraffes have permanent horns.

Q:  Why is a giraffe’s tongue purplish-black?

BG: Giraffes eat for up to 20 hours a day! The dark coloring on their tongues works as a sunscreen.

Q: How fast can a giraffe run?

BG: Giraffes are agile and can run up to 35 mph, and have been known to jump up to 6 feet in the air.