Are Giraffes Friendly To Humans? (Can You Pet Them?)

Giraffes are considered wild animals. But is their being a wild animal means they are not friendly with the humans? Let us find that out.

So are giraffes friendly to humans? In general, giraffes are friendly to humans. However, a giraffe can also be brutal if threatened by humans.

The giraffe has a different relationship with humans. The relationship they have is not like any relationship of other animals to humans. Giraffes are not the same as any other animals in that they are very beneficial to humans. 

A dog offers protection to the people. A cat provides comfort and company. A horse can be used as transportation. 

But giraffes do not offer some benefits to humans. However, despite that, giraffes and humans have always had a good relationship. 

Humans are fascinated with giraffes, and the giraffe would reciprocate by being friendly and gentle to the humans. Let us further discuss the relationship between giraffes and humans.

How Do Giraffes React Toward Humans?

Giraffes that are born to the care of a human, like at home or in a zoo, the giraffe will most likely be very friendly, gentle, trusting, and not aggressive to humans. Because humans are taking care of them, giraffes are used to people being around and do not scare them anymore. Of course, if giraffes are treated poorly, then the giraffes can also be frightened and threatened. 

So if people treat them nicely, giraffes will reciprocate the excellent treatment of humans. With the care of humans, giraffes can tolerate the company of humans and their physical contact. Some other giraffes will eat from the hands of the people, and this includes children. 

With the company of humans, the giraffe can already tolerate the touch of the humans without being afraid and frightened. You need to be careful with how you treat the giraffes because if threatened, giraffes can also defend themselves by kicking and showing dislike and protest. With that, giraffes can do great harm, like injuring or even killing in worse cases.

Do Giraffes Like To Be Touched?

This will vary for every giraffe. If the giraffe is well trained for the touch of the people, the giraffe will never mind at all the physical contact people will give. If the giraffe grew from a setting where no human is touching them, they would not be accustomed to the feel of human touch. 

Other zoos would prohibit the touching of their giraffes. They said that this is implemented because there are giraffes that do not like to be touched. This is mainly because of the growing environment of the giraffe. 

If the humans are not touching the giraffe and are not giving the giraffe any physical contact, the giraffe will grow old without knowing a human’s physical touch. The result would be that the giraffe will not appreciate any human touches because they are not exposed to these touches. 

But if the giraffe is exposed to the touches of a human hand, the giraffe will very much enjoy the feel of human touches. So there are giraffes that would enjoy the touch of human hands, and there are also other giraffes that dislike the touch of human hands.

Related: Can You Ride A Giraffe?

Can You Pet A Giraffe?

On the top of the head, answer, yes, you can pet a giraffe. However, it does not mean that you can, then you will. Giraffes are not ideal for making pets. 

If you have a giraffe as a pet, you will need to spend a lot of money and time making it home. They have to have appropriate housing and food. 

Giraffes also need a lot of feeding. And giraffes feed on trees and leaves. That alone is not ideal because your neighbor will be angry at you if their trees no longer have any leaves. 

The housing of the giraffe is already a problem. They need vast space, and they need to be left alone because the trees of your neighbors can get no leaves at all. After all, your giraffe ate it.

Aside from that, there is more paperwork if you want to have a giraffe. You see, it is not illegal to own a giraffe. However, you need to secure a permit and a license if you want to keep a giraffe. 

This is true in the United Kingdom and many other states. With this license, you will again spend time and money. Back with the housing, you will spend time and money fencing up your backyard and giving your giraffe more space so that it can move around. 

The fence will also keep your giraffe from going anywhere. In getting a license, there are also a lot of requirements. If you want to adopt dogs and other animals, you will be mandated to provide certain things to prepare for upcoming adoption. 

In owning a giraffe, it is the same thing. However, the requirements are more complex and challenging. 

One requirement for owning a license to keep a giraffe is the appropriate building or housing for your giraffe. The housing of the giraffe can also require a lot of money.

petting giraffe

Are Giraffes Gentle?

You may look at a giraffe at a distance, and you will think about how gentle and good these giraffes are. Again, if the giraffes will trust you, they will be gentle with you. But if you are cruel to the giraffe, the giraffe can threaten and even fight you.

In general, giraffes are gentle. But we have to think of a lot of factors. You need to check for the environment that the giraffes have grown into. 

You need to check the treatment of the humans to the giraffe when it was just growing up. Those giraffes that are already close to the humans and they already trust humans, these giraffes will be very gentle with you.

How To Treat Giraffes?

Let us start first with the protection of the giraffes. If you want to protect the giraffes, you should help to educate the people on the awareness of the different hows and whys on how to protect the giraffes. You can even educate your friends on how to protect the giraffes. 

It would help if you also show your support for sustainable agriculture. It would help if you always promoted sustainability. You should also support settlement practices in the giraffe’s home. 

Promote reforestation because giraffes need trees for their food. You have to be gentle with the giraffes. Treat them with respect, and you have to earn their trust so that they will be comfortable with you.


In summary, giraffes are majestic creatures. They have long necks and fantastic skin. Giraffes and humans also have a good relationship. 

Giraffes are gentle if treated gently also. Giraffes can also be threatened if you do not reasonably treat them.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more