What Eats Giraffes? (12 Predators with Pictures)

What Eats Giraffes

Animals that eat giraffes include lions, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, and crocodiles.

Sadly, giraffes are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN red list of endangered animals. There are just 68,000 left in the wild, with populations seeing a significant decline in recent decades. Their main threat is human encroachment, although predation is also a serious concern.

In Africa, there are many different predators that threaten giraffes. Some of the most common include lions, leopards, and hyenas. But there are also some lesser-known animals that prey on these magnificent creatures.

Specialized predators are very efficient at hunting these tall creatures and often manage to kill them unless the giraffe uses its adaptations like herd protection and excellent eyesight to defend itself.

Examples of Animals that Eat Giraffes

1. Ants

Scientific NameFormicidae
Type of AnimalInsect

Although ants do not hunt giraffes they do eat their carcasses. After a giraffe dies, the ants will quickly move in to scavenge the meat. They are able to do this because of their large numbers and efficient organization. The ants will strip the carcass clean, leaving behind only the bones.

Interestingly, the bones of a giraffe are not very nutritious. This is because they are so large and contain relatively little meat. For this reason, the ants will only eat the meat that is available on the carcass. They will not bother to dig through the bones to get to the marrow.

The scavenging habits of ants provide an important service to the environment. Without them, the bodies of dead animals would quickly rot and release harmful toxins into the air and soil. By scavenging the meat from carcasses, ants help to break down these corpses and return their nutrients to the earth.

2. Crocodiles

Scientific NameCrocodylidae
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangetropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas

One of the most feared predators in Africa is the crocodile. These massive reptiles can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds.

They are well-adapted to both land and water, making them formidable hunters. Crocodiles mainly eat fish, but they will also take down larger prey such as antelope, hippos, and even giraffes. They kill their prey by biting down on them with their powerful jaws and then twisting their bodies to rip the flesh apart.

Crocodiles are not only dangerous to animals, but also to humans. They can swim very fast and are known to attack people who get too close to the water. In fact, crocodiles are responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other animal.

3. Crows

Scientific NameCorvus
Type of AnimalBird

While crows are not typically predators of giraffes, they have been known to scavenge and eat anything that is dead or dying. This includes the bones of giraffes. Crows are opportunistic birds that will take advantage of any prey that is available, regardless of its size. This means that they will not hesitate to feast on a dead or dying giraffe.

Related Article: Dead Crow Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism

4. Flies

Scientific NameDiptera
Type of AnimalInsect

Flies are some of the most common animals that eat giraffes. They aren’t interested in the animal’s meat, but rather the blood that pumps through its veins. Female horseflies use their serrated mouthparts to pierce the skin and suck out blood. They can consume up to three times their body weight in blood each day, making the large giraffe with its enormous amount of blood a great target.

5. Humans

Scientific NameHomo sapiens
Type of AnimalMammal

The biggest predators of all are, of course, human beings. Throughout history, humans have hunted giraffes for their meat and hides. Hunters use a variety of methods to kill giraffes, from shooting them with firearms to spearing them from a distance. Once killed, the hunters typically skin and butcher the animal on site. The meat is then sold or consumed locally.

While hunting giraffes is banned nearly everywhere, they are still hunted sometimes by poachers.

6. Hyenas

Scientific NameHyaenidae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangenorth and northeast Africa, the Middle East and Asia, all the way to southern Siberia

These spotted animals are often associated with scavenging, but they are also formidable predators. Hyenas can hunt giraffes by chasing them down or attacking them from behind. They have powerful jaws that can crush bones, and their sharp teeth can easily tear through flesh. After killing the giraffe, the hyenas will eat the meat and strip the carcass clean.

7. Leopards

Scientific NamePanthera pardus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica, parts of the Middle East, and Asia, including China, India, and eastern Russia

The leopard is one of the most widespread predators in Africa and one of the main predators of giraffes. They are incredibly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, from dense forests to open savannas. Leopards are ambush predators that rely on stealth and surprise to take down their prey.

They typically hunt at night, when their prey is most active. Giraffes are one of the leopard’s main targets, and they have been known to kill them by breaking their necks or backs. Leopards typically eat the meat from their prey, but they will also consume the organs, bone marrow, and even the skin.

8. Lions

Scientific NamePanthera leo
Type of AnimalMammal

Lions are the top predators in Africa and the main predators of giraffes. They typically prey on young or weak giraffes but have been known to take down adult animals as well. Lions stalk their prey until they are close enough to make a kill, after which they will feast on the carcass.

Giraffes are not easy prey animals, so lions have to be very strategic in order to take one down. They typically go for the neck or stomach, which are the weakest parts of the giraffe’s anatomy. Once they’ve made a kill, the lioness will usually stay with the carcass to guard it against other predators and scavengers.

9. Maggots

Scientific NameLucilia sericata
Type of AnimalInsect

One of the most unlikely animals that eat giraffes is the maggot. These tiny, worm-like creatures feast on dead animals. Maggots are attracted to the rotting flesh of carcasses, and a dead or dying giraffe is an easy target for them. They can quickly infest and consume the animal’s flesh, leaving nothing but the bones behind.

10. Rats

Scientific NameRattus
Type of AnimalMammal

Rats are perhaps the least likely creatures to eat giraffes, but they have been known to do so on occasion. Rats usually prey on smaller animals, such as insects, rodents, and other small mammals. However, when food is scarce, rats have been known to scavenge larger animals, including giraffes. They will look for the decomposing carcass to consume it.

11. Vultures

Scientific NameCathartes aura
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAsia, Africa, and Europe

Vultures are some of the most common scavengers who will consume a giraffe. They are opportunistic feeders that will swoop down and eat anything they can find, including carcasses of dead animals. This makes them a major threat to young or weakened giraffes. Vultures can kill a giraffe by pecking at its eyes and soft tissue.

12. Wild Dogs

Scientific NameLycaon pictus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouthern Africa and the southern part of East Africa

Wild dogs can work together as a pack to bring down prey much larger than themselves. They typically target young or sick giraffes, since they are easier to take down. Once they have closed in on their target, the dogs will bite and tear at the animal until it is weakened. Then they will start to eat the giraffe, starting with the soft parts like the eyes, brain, and genitals.


There are many animals that consume giraffes, including lions, hyenas, leopards, and crocodiles. These animals use a variety of strategies to catch their prey, from ambush to scavenging. Despite their size and speed, giraffes are not immune to predation and can fall victim to any number of predators in the wild.

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