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Genial Giraffe

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This giraffe puts his height to good use.
Image by Penny Redshaw. Used with permission.

"The Giraffe took the horse's head and led him along on the most level parts of the road towards the railway station, and two or three chaps went along to help get the sick man into the train. "
Henry Lawson

When giraffes appear in fiction, they're often nice and heroic. There are quite a few reasons for this, although it may mainly be based on their appearance. Their bright golden fur and recognizable spot pattern looks appealing, and their Long Necks are often seen as comical. Their tall bodies, long eyelashes, and short, rounded horns give them a Gentle Giant appearance.

It helps that real giraffes actually are fairly passive. They aren't very territorial, but very social. Giraffes do fight, with their horns and long necks, but they're more well known for striding gracefully across the savanna. Also, it's rare for them to attack humans. As a result, fictional giraffes tend to be gentle, caring characters rather than fighters.

It also helps that giraffes are ungulates, a group of hoofed mammals that also includes deer, pigs, and other animals that often have good reputations.


Sub-Trope of Herbivores Are Friendly. Often overlaps with The Quiet One due to the myth that giraffes are mute. Compare The Marvelous Deer, and Honorable Elephant (an animal that giraffes are often seen with).


    open/close all folders 

  • Geoffrey the Giraffe was the mascot of Toys "R" Us, a (now defunct) big box toy store chain. He was a fun-loving Friend to All Children.

    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animated 
  • Zarafa might be a loose adaptation of the real historical giraffe's life, but its unlikely that it got her friendly disposition wrong. "Zarafa" means "giraffe" in Arabic.
  • Melman the giraffe is one of the protagonists of the Madagascar series. He's high-strung but sweet, and The Heart of the team. He even eventually hooks up with Gloria the hippo!
  • Bridget the giraffe from The Wild is nice despite being a bit of a Deadpan Snarker.

  • The Giraffe in Roald Dahl's The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is one of the protagonists, who uses her stretchy neck to help the animals in their window-cleaning business.
  • In the Legend Of The Animal Healer series, The Heroine's spirit animal is a giraffe. It's later revealed that the bond she has with Jemmy (a giraffe who lives near her house) is what gave her the power to heal.
  • Bravelands: Giraffes are introduced when Fearless the lion is on the hunt for a hyena that raided his baboon troop's territory. They act friendly (though are also kind of condescending). It's played more straight in a Sky-centric chapter, where Sky's little cousin Moon plays happily near giraffes, and one giraffe happily tells Sky that they don't mind Moon playing near them as long as he doesn't trip them.
  • Animorphs: In the first of the Gamebook Alternamorphs books, your protagonist's battle morph of choice is a giraffe, meaning you are the heroic giraffe of the story.

  • In Muslim tradition, it's the giraffe, not the lion, who is considered the queen of the beasts, due to its delicate nature.
  • Sort of retroactively applied to Chinese Mythology and Japanese Mythology: the Qilin, a mythical beast associated with peace, has been equated to the giraffe by Chinese explorers, and to this day the Japanese/Korean word for "giraffe" ("kirin"/"girin") is also their equivalent to this creature.
  • Inverted from the greco-roman point of view, where the giraffe is the ugly abomination that happens when a camel and a leopard love each other too much.
  • Also possibly averted with Egyptian Mythology since Set was associated with giraffes. But otherwise Egyptians loved to draw giraffes in their artwork.

    Video Games 
  • Giraffes are among the many friendly animals found in Snapimals. They can often be seen strutting around cheerfully, giving animals rides, or even letting cheetahs do high dives from their heads!
  • In World of Warcraft, giraffes that roam Barrens (and have antelope-like horns) are among the friendlier Beast-type creatures, as they don't attack the players unless the players attack first.
  • Animal Crossing subverts this with Gracie, who is rather condescending and stuck-up.

  • Nurse Shortnick from Sparklecare is an anthropomorphic giraffe, and one of the few friendly staff members at Sparklecare Hospital. In the one scene of the comic she has appeared in thus far, she is shown taking good care of Kid Dies, a young patient. In the spinoff "Barry's Notes" videos, she states that she is friends with everyone.
  • All the giraffes to appear in 21st Century Fox so far, most notably Cecil, Beth, and Barb.
  • In Penny Arcade, long-necked animals are one of Tycho's out-there fetishes, giraffes included.

    Web Original 
  • Motivating Giraffe is a series of inspirational cartoons featuring an optimistic, kindhearted giraffe.
  • "Giwaffe and Cwow" from Ukinojoe's Great: The Show 9 - Forgiveness stars a friendly giraffe with Elmuh Fudd Syndwome who talks to a crow, apologizes for eating the tree where the crow used to live, and befriends it.

    Western Animation 

  • In Marshall Rosenberg's NVC (Non-Violent Communication), he uses two animal archetypes to describe two forms of communication. The Jackal communicates through various forms of violence (verbal and nonverbal, primitive and sublime), disregarding his own and other people's actual needs. The Giraffe is thoughtful and compassionate, carefully examines her own and other people's needs, and rejects violent forms of communication while remaining assertive.

    Real Life 
  • In the wild, various prey species are known to congregate with giraffes: after all, if a predator is sneaking around on the hunt, the giraffe naturally has the best vantage point to see it.
  • In Africa, there is a special hotel called Giraffe Manor where guests regularly interact with the giraffes in the area who are all but encouraged to stick their heads through the windows for something to eat from the guests.


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