Home Animals Can You Have a Pet Giraffe? Not Advisable: 4 Compelling Reasons

Can You Have a Pet Giraffe? Not Advisable: 4 Compelling Reasons


Have you ever dreamed of owning a giraffe? Think twice before taking the leap. Not only do these beautiful creatures weigh between 2,600 and 4,200 pounds and stand up to 20 feet tall, but it’s also unethical to remove them from their natural habitat in the wild. Giraffes specifically thrive in a dry and warm climate and need ample space to live. 

During winter, their home should be a tall, heated shed. Taking care of a giraffe can be a hassle, from brushing them to feeding them the right food. Before considering a giraffe as a pet, understand the responsibility that comes with it. Read on to learn more about what it means to have a giraffe as a pet.

Can You Have a Pet Giraffe?

Can You Have a Pet Giraffe

Although it’s legal to keep giraffes as pets in many states, it’s important to note that owning the largest animal on Earth as a pet comes with significant responsibilities that are more complex than owning a dog. To learn more about the legal aspects, one should refer to the exotic animal laws of their state. Additionally, health and safety rules must be followed when owning a pet giraffe in many states, and obtaining a license for it can be costly.

Proper fencing around the area where the giraffe will live is essential, and a tall, sturdy building is required to prevent the giraffe from escaping. It’s also important to remember that giraffes are accustomed to African temperatures and may struggle in colder climates, requiring the installation of solar panels to maintain adequate warmth.

Having a giraffe as a pet may cause jealousy or injury to other pets in the household, such as dogs or cats. Finally, it’s challenging to obtain a pet giraffe as there are only a limited number of breeders in the US, and most work with zoos and animal institutions. The majority of giraffes in the US are owned by zoos, and giraffe breeders primarily work with these organizations.

Exotic animals, such as giraffes, make for unique and tempting pets for many people across the world. However, several US states and countries have enforced laws to prohibit owning these animals for safety reasons. But, if you are determined to have a pet giraffe, you can obtain a license that allows you to do so without any issues.

Nevertheless, this endeavour comes at a heavy cost, both in time and finances. On the other hand, there are places where owning a pet giraffe is legal, and the laws are catered to ensure the safety and protection of both the animal and the owner.

Can Giraffes Be Domesticated?

Did you know that giraffes have docile personalities and could be easily domesticated? However, taming them now is not a necessity as modern technology has provided us with several alternatives. Giraffes have been domesticated in the past for transportation purposes, but due to their size and lack of agility, they are not the most efficient mode of transportation anymore.

Only zoos with ample financial resources invest in taming and raising these gentle giants. However, the domestication of giraffes is more a matter of entertainment in the modern world. Zoos provide a safe and controlled environment for people to watch these majestic creatures up close. But beware, the docile nature of giraffes might be deceiving, as they do have a dark side too.

Do Giraffes Make Good Pets?

Giraffes may seem like gentle giants, but they are still wild animals that should not be kept as pets. While they are typically peaceful creatures, they can become dangerous in certain situations. Even if a giraffe is well-behaved, it simply does not belong in a human household. There are four main reasons why giraffes make poor pets, including their large size, specialized diets, medical needs, and social requirements.

1. Housing Giraffes is Difficult

Designing a house for a giraffe is no mean feat! As the tallest animal on the planet, they need plenty of space to roam around, and you can’t underestimate the importance of solitude. Otherwise, they’ll start snacking on your neighbour’s trees or get up to no good around the property. 

But catering to their needs goes beyond space and privacy. You need to consider factors like temperature, insulation, and a high roof to keep them warm and comfortable, especially in colder seasons. And oh, don’t forget about specialized feeding areas suited to their monumental size. 

2. Owning a Pet Giraffe Requires a Lot of Paperwork

Have you ever considered owning a giraffe? While it may not be illegal in some parts of the world, be prepared to jump through some hoops to obtain the required license and permit. Not only does it cost a substantial amount of money, but there are also several requirements that must be met. 

And if your giraffe ever needs to visit the vet or be transported to another location, you’ll need to have your paperwork in order to avoid any legal issues. It’s definitely not a decision to be taken lightly, but for those daring enough to take on the challenge, owning a giraffe may just be the ultimate exotic pet experience.

3. Having Giraffe as a Pet is Expensive

While the idea of having such a majestic creature as a pet may seem enticing, the reality is that keeping a giraffe is no small feat. Along with the high costs of housing, transportation, and ownership licenses, the animal itself comes with a hefty price tag. But the expenses don’t stop there. Feeding a giraffe can easily add up, as they require a daily diet of up to 60 kilograms of specific trees. 

4. High Veterinary Costs

Since not many people own these majestic creatures, the search for a veterinarian who specializes in their care can be challenging. To add insult to injury, the expenses associated with taking care of a giraffe’s health can be quite costly, as their unique anatomy requires a lot of study and training. If by chance, you do find a specialized veterinarian, they can only be found at the zoo or an animal institution, as their specialized knowledge is needed to keep such animals healthy. 

How Much Does a Giraffe Cost?

If you have ever thought about owning a giraffe, be prepared to make a significant investment. The cost of purchasing a giraffe can range from $20,000 to $40,000, with the typical price falling between $27,000 and $30,000. However, this is just the beginning of the expenses associated with owning one of these magnificent creatures. 

On top of the initial purchase cost, you would need to pay for insurance and transportation, not to mention the cost of feeding it. A giraffe requires approximately 60 kilograms of food per month, which could end up setting you back $1,800 every month for vegetables alone – a far cry from the typical grocery bill. Additionally, providing your giraffe with clean water would cost an extra $315 per month. And don’t forget about veterinary and housing costs. 

Where Can I Buy a Giraffe?

While it may not be feasible to travel to Africa to purchase one, you can always check out your local zoo or animal institutions. Of course, before bringing a giraffe home you’ll need to have about $50,000 on hand to cover the cost of the animal itself, transportation, and insurance. 

And don’t forget to prepare suitable housing – this will likely cost another $20,000 – $25,000. But the biggest expense of all may come in the form of veterinary care. With zoo veterinarians’ salaries ranging from $15,807 to $421,296, it’s clear that caring for these majestic creatures does not come cheap. 


Do giraffes make good pets?

These majestic creatures can grow to be over 18 feet tall, making them difficult to house and care for. Additionally, giraffes have specific dietary needs that require expert knowledge and resources to meet. While they may be docile and gentle creatures, they could unintentionally harm a human due to their size and strength. Overall, while it may be tempting to have a giraffe as a pet, it is important to remember that they should remain in their natural habitats to thrive and be protected.

In places like Ireland, there are no laws against owning a giraffe as a pet. However, it’s not the case in many states and countries around the world. Some governments prohibit the ownership of exotic or wild animals due to public safety concerns. But if you manage to get a license, you could have a long-necked friend grazing in your backyard without any problem. 

How much does a giraffe cost?

The cost of one healthy giraffe can range anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000! And that’s just the initial investment – you’ll also need to factor in the cost of their food, housing, vitamins, and a license to own one. If you’re serious about sharing your home with one of these majestic creatures, you’ll need to have deep pockets and be as wealthy as the billionaires of this world.

Can giraffes be tamed?

Unlike our beloved dogs and cats, giraffes have not been bred and raised alongside humans for centuries. However, that doesn’t make them any less intriguing or beautiful. While we may not be able to invite a giraffe into our homes as a companion, we can still appreciate and admire these magnificent creatures from afar. 

Final Words

Giraffes are truly magnificent creatures, with their long necks and distinctive spots. However, it’s important to remember that they are not suited for domestication and are not suitable as pets. Even if it were allowed in your state, the costs and logistics of caring for a creature of such enormous size make it an impractical choice for most people. 

While it’s tempting to imagine having a giraffe as a unique and impressive pet, it’s important to consider the animal’s well-being and whether it would truly thrive in a domestic environment. So think twice before considering adopting a pet giraffe, and instead admire these beautiful creatures from a safe distance.


Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.


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