Do Giraffes Eat Meat? (This Can Be Scary!)

As the tallest and one of the biggest animals around, you may be wondering if they dominate the area where they roam around. Thus, you may also ask if they overpower others and devour them. So, you may ask:

Do Giraffes eat meat? The short answer is no. Giraffes are herbivores, and so they only eat plants to survive. Moreover, they don’t get nutrients from meat, so they don’t eat such food. However, you may find them eating bones of dead animals.

Giraffes are one of the tallest animals, and they can look scary at first sight. Since they are herbivores, you won’t have to fear getting close.

In this article, we’ll explain why they don’t eat meat and only eat plants. This way, you’ll understand that they are harmless and are safe for you to approach.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Do giraffes eat other animals?

As I said earlier, giraffes do not eat other animals, although there’s one particular giraffe known for eating dead rabbits.

According to MailOnline, a giraffe named Tony at Werribee Open Plains Zoo in Australia got caught eating a dead rabbit.

While it may sound surprising, one thing that likely happened is that this giraffe likely engaged in what we call osteophagia.

If you don’t know what it is, Osteophagia is a practice usually done by herbivores in which they consume bones.

Herbivores like giraffes usually suffer from having low amounts of phosphate intake. This mineral is essential for all animals, and so giraffes need such by eating bones.

In general, giraffes sometimes chew on the bones of dead animals. This way, they get phosphorus and calcium, nutrients that are necessary for their skeleton.

Aside from bones, they may also eat horns, ivory, and even antlers, whichever is available. Such things keep themselves in shape and healthy.

Such a process is likely the case for the animal caught eating a dead rabbit. The bones might serve as a supplement for the lack of calcium and phosphate.

Either way, it remains the fact that giraffes don’t attack animals and kill them for the bones. Instead, they only eat the bones of dead animals.

Also Read: What Do Giraffes Eat?

Can giraffes process meat?

Since giraffes are herbivores, they cannot process meat, and they don’t need to do so.

As herbivores, giraffes have a different digestive system and digestion process.

The digestive process of giraffes is similar to that of cows. Both animals are ruminants, and so they have four stomachs designed to digest plants.

Another thing to note is that giraffes don’t need nutrients that carnivores and omnivores get from the meat.

For instance, the protein in meat isn’t beneficial to giraffes. Thus, even if they can eat meat, it won’t have much value to these animals.

In short, giraffes can survive without meat, and so their bodies cannot and don’t have to process meat.

Why don’t giraffes eat meat?

As stated earlier, giraffes don’t eat meat because they don’t need it. Giraffes are herbivores and ruminants, which means they only get nutrients from plants. Moreover, they won’t benefit even a single thing from eating meat.

You may wonder why these animals don’t eat meat despite their large size. For instance, a full-grown giraffe can weigh as much as 3000 pounds.

They need to eat quite a lot of food with such a size, and they do such. Giraffes typically need to eat around 60-80 pounds of food per day.

Thus, while they don’t eat meat, they spend their days munching and eating plants and leaves from trees such as acacia.

In a nutshell, big animals such as giraffes, together with rhinos and elephants, only need plant-based diets. However, due to their great sizes, they need to eat pounds of food per day.

Another impressive thing is that these animals are only powered by plant-based food. As a result, they don’t need to attack and harm other animals just to have their fill.

giraffe herbivores

What giraffes eat instead of meat?

Instead of meat, giraffes eat leaves, plants, fruits (such as bananas), and grass. Since they are enormous animals, they need large amounts of food to compensate for their size.

As a result, giraffes can eat all types of plant-based food. Though they can’t eat meat, they can eat all non-meat food.

Such a long list includes twigs, leaves, and even branches and seeds. They can also eat leaves, and it’s their favorite.

The acacia trees and mimosa trees are the primary food of giraffes, and it’s what they seek as they roam in grasslands.

Due to their large size, they need to eat large amounts, and the typical food they eat per day reaches around 60-80 pounds.

In some cases, they can even eat up to a hundred pounds of plants per day.

Another thing to note is that they usually go for water-rich food since they are not much of a drinker.


Giraffes don’t eat meat, but they can eat bones from dead animals. Still, that’s the farthest they can go from eating meat. Giraffes are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. Also, these animals don’t eat meat and can’t process one due to their unique digestion.

The only time they eat other animals is when they are dead, and only the bones remain. Giraffes eat bones of dead animals because it gives them phosphorus and calcium, which they hardly find in plants.

In the end, giraffes won’t harm other animals just to get their bones. They will only eat plants and bones if available.


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