Giraffes are among the tallest animals and unique creatures, but despite all that, they are still compared to horses by many because their bodies and faces are pretty similar.
And even you may wonder, “Are giraffes related to horses?” Let’s dive into the differences and similarities between these animals.
Are Giraffes Related To Horses?
No, giraffes are not related to horses. You may feel that both of these animals share many similarities, like having long legs, long necks (compared to most animals), round bellies, and being herd animals. But they come from two different orders or families. So, in simple terms, giraffes and horses are two different species.
Giraffes and horses belong to hoofed mammals, and they are both herbivores; thus, they may share the same food preference. Despite all these facts, these two mammals are distinct from each other in many aspects because they come from two different families.
Are Giraffes A Type Of Horse?
Giraffes are not a type of horse as they are not from the same family (as we already discussed earlier).
Scientists have classified all organisms into different categories (taxon) based on their shared characteristics. There are mainly seven types of taxonomic ranks: kingdom, phylum (division), class, order, family, genus, and species.
Also Read: Can You Ride A Giraffe Like A Horse?
So when we study horses and giraffes in the line of those classifications, both of them are members of the same kingdom (Animalia), they both belong to the same phylum (Chordata), and they are even members of the same class (Mammalia), but that’s where their relation stops.
Giraffes belong to the order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), while horses belong to Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates). So, they are not from the same order.
How Closely Are Giraffes Related To Horses?
Giraffes and horses are not closely related to each other. They just share common ancestors millions of years ago as they both are hoofed herbivore animals. The most recent common ancestor of both would date back to tens of millions of years when hoofed animals split into groups that either had an even or an odd number of toes on each foot in the course of their evolution.
So, keeping that in mind, we can say that giraffes are more related to pigs than horses.
Can You Breed A Horse And A Giraffe?
Nope. You cannot breed a horse and a giraffe as they are not the same species. Therefore even though they happen to come across each other, they won’t necessarily breed with each other.
Can A Giraffe And Horse Meet In Nature?
A giraffe and a horse can meet in nature as they share the same habitat and live in the same environment in the wild. Wild horses can live in harsh environments and even in grasslands, where most giraffes prefer to live.
So, there are many chances for these two animals to encounter in the wild, but this doesn’t mean they potentially mate and produce a hybrid species.
Horses Vs Giraffes
In general, horses and giraffes won’t harm each other. They are not predators but herbivores animals. They may not even be competitors for food too. Giraffes mostly eat leaves like acacia leaves, and horses generally tend to feed on grass, hay, and alfalfa.
Differences between Horses And Giraffes
Giraffes come from the order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) along with other animals like okapis and pronghorn. Animals from this group are ruminants like cows, meaning they have multi-chambered stomachs, allowing them to feed on pounds of grass without worry.
Horses come from the order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates), along with other animals like donkeys, zebras, kiang, and onager. These are non-ruminant animals, so they don’t have any multi-chambered stomachs but have a simple digestive process that works like humans.
- Giraffes have horns, while horses don’t have any horns (unless you have seen a unicorn)
- Because of their long necks, giraffes often eat from trees that other animals can’t reach, while horses make up most of their diet from the grass they can eat in the pastures.
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