Do Giraffes Eat Grass? (Yes, but…)

Giraffes generally roam in grasslands, with plenty of trees but also plenty of grass around. Thus, you may wonder why these tall animals look for acacia trees while they have food on the ground they walk on. So you may ask:

Do giraffes eat grass? Yes, giraffes do eat grass, but not all the time. Grass can form part of their diet since they are ruminants, meaning they can eat such food. Still, due to their height, they need to bend down, which is dangerous amidst predators around. Thus, they prefer to seek trees than bending down to eat grass.

Giraffes are tall animals, and while they can bend down to eat grass, it’s not ideal since it entails many risks. When these animals eat grass, they put themselves in a dangerous position. Thus, they don’t eat grass much.

In this article, we’ll give you an explanation regarding this matter. This way, you’ll understand how giraffes eat and why they don’t eat grass even if it’s right below them.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Can giraffes eat grass?

In general, giraffes can eat grass. However, the question isn’t about their ability to eat, but it’s their willingness to do so.

The first thing to know about these tall animals is that they are ruminants, which means they have four stomachs like cows. What it means is that they can digest food that other animals can’t.

For instance, like cows, they can eat large amounts of grass without issues. These animals have enormous bodies aside from their staggeringly long necks.

Thus, it’s a no-brainer that they need to eat a large amount of food to compensate for their bodies. For this reason, they tend to spend their day munching and browsing for food.

Now, since they can eat grass and grass is usually always below them, you may wonder why they don’t eat much of it.

The thing is that eating grass puts them at risk of the dangers of predators possibly lurking around.

Let’s understand it better.

How do giraffes eat grass on the ground?

Due to their tall and enormous bodies, giraffes usually find tall trees and eat their leaves, and they do so because it’s the easiest thing to do.

Now, if they would eat grass which is in the ground, they need to bend their bodies and their long necks for their mouths to reach the grass.

When giraffes eat grass, they spread their front legs apart. Afterward, they bend their necks in an awkward position to reach the grass.

After eating the grass, they try to revert to their position, move a little and start doing it again.

Now, these feeding movements pose two big problems.

The first problem is it takes a lot of time, and they need to eat a lot for the day. Bending down and eating grass takes a lot of effort, and given the fact that they need a lot of food to eat, they can’t have their fill for the day with grass alone.

The second problem is the bending down makes them vulnerable to predators. Since giraffes spread their front legs and bend their neck, they expose their weak spots to lurking predators.

If they got bitten in the neck, it’s likely an immediate death. Moreover, they can’t run to escape since they have their front legs bent down separately.

It’s for these reasons that they don’t eat much grass despite being able to do so.


How much grass giraffes eat in a day?

As I said earlier, giraffes don’t eat much grass due to the problems mentioned above. For this reason, having grass in their diet is either less or none.

Giraffes can eat around 60-80 pounds of food per day. With such a large amount, they spend their days munching and roaming around to look for food.

Although grass is just below them, they tend to disregard it as an option and go for tree leaves. With tree leaves, they eat quicker, and thus, they can eat more.

Like cows, they can eat grass without issues. Moreover, they have enormous bodies aside from their staggeringly long necks. The only difference is their height.

If Giraffes eat grass, they don’t get to eat much since they would spend their time bending down every time they move from one spot to another. 

giraffes eating grass

Is grass a giraffe’s favorite food?

You can see that grass is not a giraffe’s favorite food with all the things said earlier.

Technically speaking, grass passes all the dietary needs of every giraffe. However, due to its nature of being on the lowest ground, giraffes tend to skip this one.

As I said earlier, grass-feeding takes a lot of time for a giraffe that needs to eat all day. Also, this kind of feeding makes them open to predators that are always around and ready to pounce given a chance.

Bending down and eating grass takes quite an effort for a giraffe. Further, given that Giraffes need a lot of food, they can’t have their fill for the day with grass alone.

Moreover, it’s not precisely something giraffes would want to do with all the predators lurking around. Since they spread their front legs and bend their neck, they expose their weak spots to lurking predators.

In short, it’s not safe and ideal. Thus, the grass is the last on a giraffe’s list of food to eat.


So, do giraffes eat grass? The answer is yes. Giraffes do eat grass, but they don’t do so all the time. In fact, they seldom eat grass. Giraffes are tall animals, and though they may bend down to eat such, it’s not a good idea since it invites several risks and downsides. When they eat grass, they put themselves in a dangerous position. Thus, they don’t eat grass much.

Instead of grass, giraffes tend to roam around searching for trees. Tree leaves are better for them since they can access them quicker, and they can focus on eating without the risk of getting attacked by a predator.

And if you want to learn more about what giraffes eat, check this article.


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