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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, Honorable Elephant and Gentle Gorilla for the other tropes regarding gentle giant herbivores. Also compare Huggy, Huggy Hippos, although hippos are omnivores and much less passive than giraffes.


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  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • The Ant and the Elephant: Subverted. When the hornbill asks the giraffe to help lift her and her egg back up to her nest, he haughtily refuses, believing that he'd look like an idiot. And when the elephant untangles the vine that gets wrapped around his legs, he just gallops away without a word of thanks.
  • 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.
  • 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 Monkey reach higher windows to clean.
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • The Chinese Emperor Zhu Di (also known as the Yongle Emperor) imported a small herd of giraffes via Indian Ocean trade routes. Many historians believe he was banking on the Qilin's status as, among other things, an omen of good leadership; having come to power via a major succession crisis, the Yongle Emperor would have naturally welcomed any way of bolstering the legitimacy of his rule. Or maybe he just thought giraffes were neat.
  • 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.
  • In Muslim tradition, it's the giraffe, not the lion, who is considered the queen of the beasts, due to its delicate nature.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing subverts this with Gracie, who is rather condescending and stuck-up.
  • Boogie Wings have a giraffe as one of the three Power Up Mount you can ride on and kick ass with.
  • Campfire Cat Cafe & Snack Bar:
    • Smiling Daniel, an anthropomorphic giraffe, is a pen salesman who is named for his friendly and charismatic personality. In his introductory cutscene, he strikes up a conversation with Salesman Frank, the cafe's salesman, and politely haggles with him for hours.
    • Averted with Angry Lawrence, another giraffe who is perpetually angry due to being sunburned. He makes no attempt to be friendly at all.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Just 20 minutes drive away from downtown Nairobi, 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 treats provided by the guests.