With an adult male giraffe measuring between 4.6 and 5.5 m (15–18 ft) in height, giraffes are the world’s tallest living animals.

Well, at least most of them are...

21 June is  World Giraffe Day, so what better opportunity to introduce you to Gimli and Nigel, world's first dwarf giraffes! 🦒

Let's start with Gimli, who was first observed in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda.

As of 2017, Gimli had an estimated total height of 282.9 cm (9 ft 3 in)  - that's around half the size of an adult male giraffe!

In fact, he was named after the famous dwarf from Lord of the Rings. 💍

Nigel is even shorter than Gimli, with a height of 254.4 cm (8 ft 4 in) when he was photographed in 2018 at a farm in Namibia.

Dwarf giraffe in Namibia 1, March 2018 (c) Emma Wells, GCF

The two dwarf giraffes are not just considerably shorter, but also disproportionate... they have a characteristically long neck just like other giraffes, but their legs are way shorter! 😛

The scientists behind this record-breaking discovery, Dr Michael Butler Brown and Emma Wells of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, told us about their experience: "The initial reaction was disbelief."

Characteristically, Dr Brown told Forbes magazine that “We quite literally did a double-take when we saw this unusual giraffe to make sure that our eyes were not deceiving us."

Dwarf giraffe in Uganda 2, March 2017 (c) Michael Brown, GCF

If you like giraffes and want to know more about them, here are some little fun facts:

  • Giraffes are greedy - they spend most of their day eating, and can devour up to 45kg of leaves and twigs a day!
  • Their tongues aren't pink or red... they are dark blue 😝
  • They have huge hearts - literally! A giraffe heart weighs around 11 kilograms. ❤️
  • To see who is stronger, male giraffes fight by butting their long necks. This is known as “necking“, and it's not usually dangerous.

Dwarf giraffe in Namibia with adult male, March 2018 (c) Emma Wells, GCF

Lastly, here is another fun fact about World Giraffe Day...

The date, 21 June, is not at all random - we celebrate the world’s tallest living animal on the looongest day or night (depending on which part of the world you live) of the year! 🌎

And, with with the number of giraffes dropping by 30% over the last 30 years, this day is also a great opportunity to learn more about the challenges giraffes face.

Gimli and Nigel aren’t just record breaking and adorable, but also a big discovery in the scientific world! 🔬