Can Giraffes Swim?

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Jury's out on this one

 

TOP FIVE FACTS

Image: Courtesy of Donald Henderson and Darren Naish

Image: Donald Henderson and Darren Naish

  • Nobody has ever seen a giraffe swim
  • This does not mean they can’t: a study by Donald Henderson and Darren Naish called ‘Testing the floation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis’ concluded that, in theory, they physically could
  • The study also concluded they’d be very bad at it, as their long front limbs would pull the body down at the front, meaning their neck would be almost horizontal and they would have to hold their heads at an awkward angle to keep them above water
  • Giraffes happily wade across rivers which are shallow enough for them not to have to swim through
  • Footage from the BBC’s Big Cat Diary of Masai giraffes trying to cross a deep river captures the moment where two of them realise they’re going to be out of their depth, think “crap”, and turn around

Want more evidence?

Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis(Henderson and Naish)
Masai giraffes attempting to swim across river

Do giraffes float?

Important Giraffe Facts brought to you by Jane Mattimoe

Have you seen one swim? Let us know below.

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