what sound does a giraffe make

Giraffes, known for their towering height and majestic presence, are not as vocal as you might expect from such large creatures. In the quest to understand these gentle giants better, a fascinating question arises: “What sound does a giraffe make?” Despite their size and communal nature, giraffes are typically very quiet, engaging in vocalizations that are intriguing and rare. This silence has piqued the curiosity of researchers and animal enthusiasts alike, leading to some interesting discoveries about how giraffes may communicate.

What Kind of Sound Does a Giraffe Make?

What Kind of Sound Does a Giraffe Make?

Although giraffes are mostly silent, they are capable of making a few distinct sounds. They have been known to snort, grunt, hiss, and even moo on rare occasions. These sounds are not commonly heard, suggesting that giraffes may prefer more subtle forms of communication. The rarity of these vocalizations makes every occurrence notable, indicating a complex potential method of interaction that goes beyond simple sounds.

The Science Behind Giraffe Vocalizations

The Science Behind Giraffe Vocalizations

Recent studies have delved into the possibility that giraffes communicate using infrasonic sound, a form of sound that is below the human threshold of hearing. Infrasonic sounds, which occur between 1.5 hertz and 20 hertz, are used by several large animals in sub-Saharan Africa, such as elephants, to communicate over long distances. In 2013, research suggested that giraffes might produce these low-frequency sounds through a mechanism known as Helmholtz resonance, which is similar to blowing across the neck of a bottle.

This study observed that the giraffes made both audible and inaudible sounds that were linked to specific movements of their heads and necks. These observations were made when giraffes were in close proximity to each other, hinting at a deliberate communicative effort. The unique structure of giraffes’ necks, which helps in producing these sounds, also contributes to their general reticence.

Contradictory Findings and Midnight Hums

Adding to the complexity,  studies challenged earlier findings by suggesting that giraffes do not often use infrasonic sound. Instead, this research, conducted over 947 hours in three European zoos, identified that giraffes might use a humming sound at night. This humming, with an average frequency of 92.01 hertz, appears to be a method of communication used in the dark, possibly when their vision, their primary sense, is less effective.

The Ongoing Mystery

sound of giraffe

Despite the extensive studies, the exact nature of giraffe vocalizations remains largely mysterious. The contradictory findings between different research groups show that there is still much to learn about “What sound does a giraffe make?” Further investigations are needed to uncover the full range of giraffe communications and their purposes.


Exploring what sound a giraffe makes opens up a window into the subtle and less understood aspects of wildlife communication. While we have some clues about the sounds giraffes might produce, the complete picture of how these magnificent animals communicate remains elusive. Continued research is crucial for a deeper understanding of these fascinating creatures and their interactions within their habitats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *