Do Giraffes Vomit? (All You Need To Know)

Vomiting for humans is just normal, whether we ate a portion of food that has gone bad or our stomach feels upset. But can animals also vomit, specifically the giraffes? Let us find out.

So do giraffes vomit? Giraffes can vomit, but it does not mean that they vomit all the time. In fact, giraffes rarely vomit.

This is a fascinating question. Vomiting is quite common to people, but there was just a gray area in there if we talk about animals. The answer to this can be answerable by yes and no. 

The stomach of the giraffe is more like the stomach of the cows. Giraffe’s stomachs are more complicated than humans too. The heart of the giraffe has four chambers. 

If a human vomits, the vomit will directly come from the person’s stomach and then lead straight to the esophagus and to the mouth. 

On the other hand, if a giraffe vomits, the vomit will come out from the fourth stomach, and then it will pass through the third stomach, and then into the second stomach, and into the first. 

The vomit of the giraffe will rarely reach that part of the stomach. But in some cases that it will, then the giraffe will likely vomit. 

So now, let us further discuss the facts about the giraffe’s stomach and how these giraffes vomit. Let’s go.

Can Giraffes Vomit?

Giraffes can vomit. Giraffes are considered ruminants. Like cows and sheep, giraffes also belong to the animal category of ruminants. 

When we say ruminants, it means that the giraffes would chew on the cud. The giraffes can regurgitate their food from the central part of their stomach. They call it rumen. 

This rumen will come from the central part of the giraffe’s stomach and go into the giraffe’s mouth so that they can further chew on the rumen so that the digestive process can flow easily. The food pipe of the giraffes, commonly known as the esophagus, can work backward. So the food will naturally and frequently bring the food up to the giraffe’s mouth. 

What is also interesting is that giraffes ruminate their food. This is not the same as vomiting. Ruminating is a process of the food going back to the mouth to chew it more. 

When giraffes eat food, they will break down their food, passing through the four chambers of their stomach. After that, the food will go back right out of their stomach and into their mouth. If the food has returned to the giraffe’s mouth, they will chew the food more thoroughly. 

Giraffes can also regurgitate water. Their regurgitation is not only limited to their food; water is also included. There is a common cause of death for some giraffes. 

In the process of transferring the food to the different chambers of the giraffe’s stomach, the food is then transported back to the mouth of the giraffe and will pass through the esophagus, somewhere where the food can get stuck. The food can get stuck in the giraffes’ esophagus, which can cause choking to the giraffes. 

When this happens, the giraffe can either survive the choking or lead them to their death. Unlike humans, they are not capable of vomiting properly. As a result, they choke on their food in the middle of regurgitation.

How Long Does A Giraffe Vomit?

In general, it would take from about fifteen minutes to several hours for a giraffe to vomit. Of course, as mentioned, the time would depend mainly on the size of the giraffe and the amount of food or water consumed. Giraffes are known to have projectile vomit. 

This means that you have to move away if you feel that a giraffe is nauseated and is on the verge of throwing up. Give the giraffe a lot of space and time. A giraffe specialist can help the giraffe with some medication. 

As mentioned in the preceding section, the giraffe cannot vomit quickly as humans do. Their bodies are not equipped for that. Like horses, giraffes are having a hard time vomiting because they have long necks. 

ill giraffe with vomiting

How Long Does It Take A Giraffe To Throw Up?

Giraffes ruminate and chew their cud; they would regurgitate their food and water frequently. The duration of the vomiting of the giraffe depends. Humans take two seconds for the food to reach the stomach and into the mouth. 

Giraffes, on the other hand, take sixty-four seconds. However, the duration will vary from one giraffe to another. Other sources would say that the throwing up of the giraffe will depend mainly on the giraffe’s size and the amount of food that they consumed.

When Do Giraffes Vomit?

Giraffes vomit very rarely. Their food and water regurgitation is not the same as vomiting. They ruminate their food so that they can chew it again to smoothen their digestive process further. 

A giraffe would vomit on many occasions. If giraffes are feeling nauseated, they can vomit. If they are choking with their food, they can vomit too. 

Just know that giraffes very rarely vomit because they belong to the animals that are called ruminants. With this, it means that their food will come out again to get their food again. 

This is what you call ruminants. Vomiting is something you cannot control. But the giraffe is naturally regurgitating their food.


In summary, giraffes are amazing creatures with their mysterious and majestic long necks. When it comes to vomiting, the giraffe rarely vomits. Instead, they ruminate, or they regurgitate their food and water. 

This means that they chew the food, and this food will pass all four stomachs. After that, the food will go back up again through the esophagus and into the mouth. When the food is again in the mouth, the giraffe will then chew the food again.


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