Can Giraffes Throw Up? Giraffes: A Quick Glimpse Inside their Stomachs

Vomiting for humans is very normal when our stomachs feel upset and we fall sick. But do animals also vomit, especially giraffes? Can giraffes throw up? If yes, how long does it take a giraffe to throw up?

With their long necks and unique appearance, questions regarding giraffes attract much attention. Let us find out the answer to this question.

Can Giraffes Throw Up?

Yes, giraffes can vomit just like any other animal, but it does not mean they vomit all the time and do the same as us humans. It is rare for the animal to vomit. So, the answer to this question is both yes and no.

When we talk about animals and their characteristics, there is a gray area in many things, and to answer this fascinating question, the giraffe’s stomach is more like the stomach of the cow. Giraffes are considered ruminants like cows and sheep.

Like most ruminants, giraffes’ stomachs have 4 chambers where the grass is broken down into tiny components by bacteria, and the first and second compartments are huge fermentation vats. The actual stomach, the equivalent of our stomach, is the fourth chamber.

When they graze, the grass has to pass through the first three chambers before it gets to the main chamber (stomach of the animal) called the “rumen.” Ruminants voluntarily regurgitate grass from the rumen (the main part of the stomach) to chew it further to help the digestive process, and this process is called “chewing cud.”

Also Read: Do Giraffes Eat Bananas?

So, the esophagus, the food pipe of giraffes, quite naturally and frequently works in reverse to bring food up to the mouth.

Giraffes have the capacity to regurgitate food back up when they need to, either from one stomach to another or right up their long necks to the mouth. It’s a common part of their digestive process. Giraffes can even regurgitate water.

giraffe eating from a tall tree
Photo by HowardWilks on Pixabay

To emphasize it further, a giraffe’s stomach is much more complicated than a human’s. When a human vomits, the vomit comes out of the stomach, up the esophagus, and obviously out of our mouths.

Whereas, if a giraffe vomits, it will come out of the fourth chamber, sort of bypass the third chamber, and goes into the first and second chambers. It is extremely rare for the vomit to go any further than that cause their long necks can make it difficult for them to do so.

The vomiting process requires a change in pressure within the esophagus and stomach, which can strain the muscles and valves in a giraffe’s neck. Additionally, considering their size, giraffes have smaller stomachs, making it more challenging to expel food they can’t digest.

So, though giraffes can and do vomit, it is relatively uncommon and very rare that it actually comes out of the mouth. It often ends in the first or second chambers and is called internal vomiting.

Also Read: Can You Ride A Giraffe?

How Long Does It Take A Giraffe To Throw Up?

According to some sources, it would take anywhere from fifteen minutes to a couple of hours for a giraffe to vomit. Of course, the time would vary depending on the size of the giraffe and the amount of food or water consumed. They are also known to projectile vomit.

So, whenever you see a giraffe feel nauseated and is on the verge of throwing up, you should move away from it and give the majestic creature some time and space. Also, consulting a giraffe specialist can help the giraffe with some medication.

Humans only take a few seconds to vomit, but giraffes cannot vomit as quickly as humans, as their bodies are not equipped for that. Like horses, giraffes also have difficulty vomiting because of their long necks. Even though having a long neck has some benefits, it also comes with its drawbacks.


Many people often mistook their regurgitation for vomiting. They are not the same; vomit is something you cannot control while they regurgitate their food on their own to help better their digestion process.

Giraffes chew the food, which will pass through all four stomachs (chambers), then this food will go back up again through the esophagus and into the mouth so that they can cud. It is not vomit. Although giraffes vomit when they eat something that doesn’t agree with them, it’s not as common as you might think.



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