Giraffes, the tallest mammals on Earth, are some of the most fascinating and beloved animals. Only the neck of a giraffe is up to 2 m long and weighs about 272 kilograms. The animal’s legs are also almost 2 m long. Females grow 4.3 m tall and weigh up to 680 kg, while males grow up to 5.5 m tall and weigh up to 1,350 kg.
Their name comes from the Arabic language, more precisely from the word “carafe”, which means “the tallest of all” or “the one who walks fast”. And they are not slow; they can run, over short distances, at a speed of over 60 km/h. Most giraffes have slightly golden, square, brown fur. When they reach old age, the color of the spots on their fur darkens, so the age of a giraffe can be easily approximated.
There are less than 100,000 giraffes of nine species in the world (including living in captivity). Unfortunately, some breeds have only a few hundred specimens left.
Did you know that the first giraffe was brought to Europe in 46 by Julius Caesar? He received it as a gift from Cleopatra, after his victory in Egypt, and the Romans in Europe considered the giraffe such a strange animal that they called it “cameleopard”.
How Much Does a Giraffe Cost?
If you are thinking about purchasing a pet giraffe, be prepared to pay anywhere between $25,500 and $35,500. Though, most of the giraffes cost anywhere between $27,500 and $30,500.
The price of a giraffe is determined by the zoo’s prices and the different circuses from all over the world as they have to invest an important sum of money to buy this animal.
The estimates above are relative as the entire cost of a giraffe includes the transportation fees and all the documentation needed for legal transport. Giraffes live in the savannas of Africa. These tall creatures are native to Kenya, Angola, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and South Africa, according to the World Atlas.
Also, you should be aware of the regulations of the state you are living in if you decided to own a giraffe as there are states in America where it isn’t legal to keep exotic animals.
Can I purchase a giraffe?
If you have the necessary amount of money to buy and take care of a giraffe, and it is allowed by your state’s laws, then you can purchase it.
Which USA states allow the ownership of a giraffe?
You can buy a giraffe if you live in one of these USA states:
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
However, if you already decided to buy a giraffe and have all of the information about the seller, then it is recommended to hire a personal attorney because this purchase is not as easy as it seems.
Food costs for a giraffe
Giraffes are herbivores, which means that they only eat plants. Their long necks allow them to reach the leaves, seeds, fruits, buds, and branches up in mimosa and acacia trees. They can eat hundreds of pounds of leaves a week.
The giraffe’s favorite food is Acacia, a species of tree that grows in the savannah. The giraffe is a selective animal when it can choose between a lot of types of food. But if the need arises, it has no problem adapting to other foods. It also consumes other species of trees and grass.
Both the giraffe’s tongue and the digestive tract are adapted to digest thorny vegetables, which they digest without any problems. Giraffes spend 16–20 hours a day feeding, and if they have babies, they can do so during the hottest part of the day when prey animals are inactive. They can eat even 65 kg of vegetables per day.
Taking into consideration that one kilo of vegetables costs around $1, you will spend almost $2,000 per month only on food.
Also, giraffes drink around 7 liters of water per day. Considering the fact that the price of one liter of water is around $1.5, you will have to spend almost $350 per month just on the water.
So, the monthly costs to take care of a giraffe’s diet would be around $2,350.
The giraffe’s veterinary costs
It is practically impossible to find out the veterinary costs for a giraffe as only a handful of people actually own one as a pet. As this is not a typical pet, you need to find a highly-skilled vet. The only ones available may be the ones who work for a massive institution or a huge zoo.
So, plan on spending a large sum of money on veterinary check-ups as these specialized vets are rare.
Transportation costs for a giraffe
Transportation costs are quite significant when buying a giraffe. Some zoo owners said that you should expect to spend around $20,000 for transportation of the giraffe to you from the breeder and its travel insurance.
Habitat building cost
If you decided to buy a giraffe you should know that it will need around 20 to 50 square km of terrain. It may seem like an impressive number, but the giraffe is the tallest animal on the planet.
So, if you need to buy this space, plan on spending several million dollars.
The cost of the rarity of giraffes
Giraffe populations are threatened by poaching, invasion, and the decline of their natural habitat.
These are vulnerable animals and their number has decreased in the last few years. Nowadays, these animals can be found only in East Africa. The risk of extinction in the wild is very high according to IUCN.
This is because of the wars that took place in Sudan, the hunting activity, and the international trade with leather.
As a result, many associations are working hard to preserve and maintain alive this species.
Because of these reasons, the cost of the giraffes will increase year by year and, most probably, they will slowly be sold only to important entities and official zoos.
Does any private individual own a giraffe as a pet?
Due to the high costs of owning a giraffe, only a handful of people are known to have a giraffe as a pet. These animals can be admired in zoos, but you will have a hard time finding someone who keeps them in private, at least from what we could gather during our research.
As you can probably notice, there are some important costs you have to consider in case you want to purchase a giraffe as a pet. Besides the cost, you will have to consider the laws of the state you are living in.