Have you ever been to a zoo or safari park and found yourself wondering, “Can you ride a giraffe?” at the back of your mind while watching these amazing beasts?
There is no argument for saying that giraffes are elegant creatures, and it might seem very appealing to climb onto the back of the ‘giant one’ to get a great view of the world and feel tall. Undoubtedly, being on the back of a giraffe will be an incredible sensation.
But is this practical and doable in reality? There is a good reason why you do not see many pictures of people riding giraffes. Let’s see.
Can You Ride A Giraffe Like A Horse?
Though giraffes are often considered pretty, docile, and beautiful creatures, riding on them is probably not a good idea. We know many people list them as their favorite animals, but we must say that they aren’t as innocent as they look and can be extremely dangerous creatures.
Giraffes can swing their long neck with such speed and strength that they throw a person in the air and even kick hard enough to kill someone in one blow. Even predators of the jungle, such as lions, give them respect and will not tackle them unless the giraffe is sick or injured. So, it’s pretty clear by now that these are powerful animals.
Theoretically, you can ride a giraffe if you can get onto its back and manage to secure yourself. But technically, it’s not that easy as giraffes are not made for rides due to how a giraffe’s back is shaped and the slope it creates. Their backs weren’t made to carry the weight, so finding a saddle for the giraffe’s sloped back is very unlikely.
Has Anyone Ever Ridden A Giraffe?
Very few people in history have achieved the feat of riding a giraffe. Some circuses had this act of riding giraffes, which is also a part of some family traditions in the UK. In the past, it has been done by a giraffe-riding circus performer in Chipperfield’s Circus in the 1950s.
So, it was never a ride for fun. With the giraffe slanting back, you will probably slide down and fall. Its height poses a significant problem; first, getting on its back is dangerous, and falling can be fatal. Also, there is always a possibility of getting hit by the hooves of this beautiful beast.
Even maintaining a giraffe is hard. They have long gestation periods (about 15 months), guard their calves fiercely for a long time (for another year or more), and need huge amounts of food every day (they eat approximately 75 pounds of food a day). These things make them far less suitable for riding than a horse or a donkey.
Some animals are designed for riding and transportation. Horses, Camels, and donkeys are at the top of the list.
Can You Legally Ride A Giraffe?
You can own a giraffe legally. In most cases, you just need to secure some permits to hold a giraffe legally. So, if you try to ride a giraffe, it is legal. However, physically harming them is another story.
A giraffe can be harmed while being ridden if the rider wears any sharp clothes or objects that can harm or injure it. The weight must also be considered, as the giraffe can be physically harmed if the person riding it is bulky.
The giraffes are not trained to be ridden, so they are not experts in keeping a person on their back. So it is better to be careful so you will not harm your pet giraffe. And it’s even better if you don’t try to ride on it at all.
Also Read: Can Lions Swim? Are Lions Afraid of Water?
How To Ride A Giraffe?
As mentioned above, it is not recommended to ride a giraffe as their body is just not meant to be ridden with their tall necks, and they even have a bump on the base of their neck. The actual saddling up is challenging, let aside the riding.
Most adult humans can get onto a horse’s back without assistance, but trying to get onto a giraffe’s back would require a special platform or a ladder, making it almost impractical every time.
But if you still want to learn how to ride a giraffe, obviously, you need to train the giraffe first. Let’s see the steps for that. However, remember that the expert may not use these steps to train a giraffe; these are only theoretical steps and not from the people who have done it in real life.
Firstly, buy your giraffe; this is a no-brainer. If you buy a wild giraffe, then you will have a hard time just getting close to it. Because wild giraffes will not let you get close to them. So, the best option is to get a baby giraffe and tame it.
It takes years of commitment and care in order to convince a giraffe to let you ride it. You cannot start directly with teaching the giraffe to be ridden on; you must first train the giraffe to be gentle, especially to you. You need the giraffe to be gentle and comfortable with you before you can start the main task.
If you have already done that, train your giraffe to follow basic commands, as you do with your pet dog. ‘Operant conditioning’ is a behavioral psychology concept involving reward and punishment for their behavior. For every command followed, you give the giraffe a reward.
Some trainers begin their training when it is still a calf (5-10 days of age). When you finish that step, too, then you are good to go.
Get a ladder or some walk-up to be on the giraffe level to get on it and finally teach the giraffe to be ridden on. The trainer ramps up during the nursing stage. This is very tricky because you will have to think of ways to steer your giraffe in a specific direction and how you can sit on the back of the giraffe.
You will definitely need a customized saddle to get on the back of the giraffe.
Note: Most trainers use a wand and hands-on manipulation. The motto is to train the giraffe not to overreact and overcome fear. A giraffe can move fast; when it gets spooked, it can dash forward quickly enough to throw off its passenger, who would likely get severely injured.
Where Can I Ride A Giraffe?
Although some Safaris in Africa do allow tourists to ride on exotic animals, it is improbable to find any business that allows people to ride on giraffes for all the reasons we mentioned above.
And even if any businesses would allow you to attempt it, chances are that you would hurt yourself in doing so, which could result in legal trouble for the company.
To conclude, you will probably not find any business offering rides on a giraffe. You can ride on a buffalo or a camel instead while on holiday and show off those holiday snaps when returning home.
Some safaris may let you ride a horse alongside their giraffes, which is probably the closest you will come to ever riding on a giraffe’s back. You can also have an opportunity to compare these two animals and get a more visual idea of why a giraffe is so unsuitable for riding.
Can Humans Ride A Giraffe?
The most straightforward answer to “Can giraffes be ridden?” or “Can you ride a giraffe?” is “No.” If people try harder to ride, they definitely can, but it would be difficult and dangerous, too, as the giraffe’s height is about 15-20 feet, with its neck measuring about 6 feet long.
So falling puts the rider at risk of falling from about 14 feet above the ground, and that’s almost like falling from the roof of a house.
Trying to train a giraffe can be a difficult task, too, as they are notoriously untrainable, unlike horses who have been bred and trained for thousands of years to be people-friendly domestic animals. But giraffes have never been modified from wild animals.
Let’s say that you tamed a giraffe successfully. Even then, challenges arise, like how you fit a bridle as its neck is so long and the head is far above you. Two, the back of the giraffe slopes down towards the tail, and you can’t fit a saddle. Let’s agree that some animals just aren’t for riding. A giraffe would probably dislike having a human clinging to it.
Some Interesting Facts About Giraffes:
- A herd of giraffes is called a tower.
- Baby giraffes are already 6 feet tall when born, and adult giraffes weigh more than your car.
- Giraffe kicks are known to generate power that’s much stronger than horses and kangaroos. A giraffe’s kick can produce an impact of almost 2,000 PSI (or pounds of force per square inch). This makes them one of the strongest animals alive on this planet.