The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world, while the elephant is the heaviest land animal. They have two things in common: both are herbivores and live in Africa. They must cross paths with one another from time to time. Do they get on? Do they ever fight? In this article, we will settle the debate of what would happen in a giraffe vs elephant fight.
Giraffe vs Elephant: Fact Sheet
|Size||height 4.9 – 5.5 m|
weight 1,900 kg
|height 3.2 – 4 m|
weight 4,700 – 6,000 kg
|Speed||37 mph||25 mph|
|Attack||ossicones horn like structures|
on top of their head
powerful kick with 2,000 psi
|tusks 1.5 – 2.5 m long|
|Lifespan||25 years||60 – 70 years|
Giraffe vs Elephant: Size
Male giraffes and elephants are significantly bigger than females, so we will use them in this fight. An adult male giraffe stands at 4.9 – 5.5 m (16- 18ft) and can weigh up to 1,900 kg (4,190 lbs). Despite giraffes having long necks and legs, they have short body’s in comparison.
There are two species of elephants living in Africa, the biggest being the African bush elephant and the other being the more miniature African forest elephant. In this fight, I will use the African bush elephant for comparison.
An average bull bush elephant weighs between 4,700 – 6,000 kg (10,362 – 13,228 lbs). They have a shoulder height of 3.2 – 4 m (10.5 – 13.1 ft). Elephants are bulky muscular animals with a thick trunk that is controlled by 40,000 muscles.
Giraffe vs Elephant: Movement Speed
Although giraffes are lanky animals, they can sprint at 37 mph (60 kph) for a short time. They stop themselves from toppling over by swaying their neck and head around for balance. Elephants are slower, galloping at 25 mph (49 kph).
Giraffe vs Elephant: Attack Power
Both male and female giraffes have ossicones on top of their heads. Ossicones are different from horns and antlers as they are made of bone fused to the skull and permanently covered in fur. Males also have a middle ossicone that looks like a large lump on their forehead. It is more prominent in northern giraffes than in southern ones. Only giraffes and okapi have ossicones.
The giraffe’s long neck allows them to reach leaves other animals can’t get to. But did you know that males also use their necks to fight one another? Males swing their necks like clubs in fights appropriately called “necking“. Males slam each other with their necks and try to hit the underside of their opponent with their ossicones. They can hit with so much force that they can knock their opponent over. The oldest males usually have bald ossicones from years of necking.
A giraffe deals with predators by either running away or by giving them a good kick. To kick an animal harassing them, they turn their back on it and kick out with one of their hind legs. A giraffe’s kick can generate a force of up to 2,000 psi to kill a lion with one blow to the head.
An elephant’s primary weapon is its tusks, which they use to fight other males during mating season and defend against predators. Outside of combat, the tusks are used for digging up roots and stripping the bark off trees. Adult male tusks can be between 1.5 – 2.5 m (5 – 8.2 ft) long, but on average, they are 1.8 m (6 ft) long. The tusks continually grow throughout their life.
An elephant’s size usually is enough to make any predator think twice before attacking them. If they feel threatened, they will charge them with tusks. This is usually enough to see them off. If not, they can swing their thick trunk around to hit them. Elephants don’t usually bite during fights, but if they did, it would cause some severe pain. They have a bite force of around 2,175 psi.
Giraffe vs Elephant: Differences
The differences between the two animals can determine who wins in a fight. The most striking difference between the giraffe and the elephant is height and weight. The giraffe is a good metre taller than the elephant, whereas the elephant weighs twice as much as the giraffe. The other difference is how they fight with the giraffe using its long neck, ossicones and back legs to kick. On the other hand, the elephant likes to charge with its tusks and trunk.
Giraffe vs elephant who will win in a fight?
In a giraffe vs elephant fight, an elephant would win every time. The elephant can easily survive a kick from the giraffe as the kick is low and won’t be able to reach the elephant’s head. With its brute strength and tusks, the elephant would charge straight in and knock the giraffe over. This would cause severe internal damage to the giraffe. Then, the elephant can easily pin the giraffe to the ground with its weight and attack it with its tusks to win.
Giraffes only have neck fights with other giraffes, but if it did decide to use its neck, it would have little effect on the elephant’s robust body. The only real damage the giraffe could inflict would be with its ossicones. As giraffes fight, standing still, they wouldn’t get a chance to swing their head as the elephant would bowl them over.
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