Can Giraffes Throw Up? Explained

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Giraffes have a tendency to be sick on a regular basis, but not in the same way that humans do. They are more like cows in that they allow the first of their stomach’s four chambers to do some of the breaking down of their food before regurgitating it back into the mouth, where it is chewed more thoroughly. Even water can be seen being regurgitated by giraffes.

giraffe Horns
giraffe closeup in Etosha national park

What happens if a giraffe vomits?

In a giraffe, it would exit the fourth stomach, and then it would “bypass” the third stomach and enter the first and second stomachs instead. It is an exceptionally unusual occurrence for the vomit to continue any further than that point. Therefore, in a roundabout way, the answer is yes, giraffes can throw up. However, it is extremely, extremely uncommon for the vomit to actually come out of the mouth.

How do giraffes vomit?

If you consider the stomach of a giraffe, you’ll notice that it’s very similar to the stomach of a cow, despite the fact that it’s significantly more complicated than our own. Therefore, the stomach of a giraffe is divided into four chambers. The first and second chambers are enormous vats used for the fermentation process, and the fourth chamber serves as the organism’s true stomach, which is comparable to our own stomach.

When we throw up, the vomit first comes up from the stomach, then travels through the esophagus, and finally exits the body through the mouth. In a giraffe, it would exit the fourth stomach, then it would “bypass” the third stomach and enter the first and second stomachs instead. It is an exceptionally unusual occurrence for the vomit to continue any further than that point. 

Giraffes are known to be capable of throwing up, but typically they do so from their fourth stomach into their second. It’s possible that it has something to do with the fact that, like cows and sheep and some other types of antelope, they are ruminants. To put it another way, they consume the cud.

They have the ability to bring food from the rumen, the most important part of the stomach, back up to their mouths so that they can chew it some more, which aids in the digestive process. The esophagus, also known as the “food pipe,” in giraffes works in reverse to bring food back up to the mouth where it was swallowed. There is nothing in its physical makeup that could prevent it from becoming ill.

There are certain plants that, when consumed by cows, can make them sick enough to expel the majority of the contents of their rumen through their mouths. Rhododendron is the name of one of these little plants, and cowbane is the name of the other. It is not very common, but it is possible for cows that have been eating rhododendrons to become ill. 

It is important to keep in mind that the rumen of a large cow has the capacity to hold up to 250 litres, which is approximately 50 or 60 gallons. Therefore, this location has the potential to be very impressive, particularly in the event that a whole herd of cows has discovered a rhododendron clump.

Similarly, there are conditions that could make a giraffe ill in the same way, and there would always be the risk of the contents of the rumen getting into the lungs and causing pneumonia in the animal. Giraffes do, in fact, regularly regurgitate food up their extremely long necks.

However, this behavior is not entirely analogous to vomiting. Because the contents of the rumen are not acidic, the giraffe vomit that comes from the rumen would be very different from our own.

Does it take a long time a giraffe to throw up?

Because they chew their cud, giraffes “throw up” on a regular basis and have the ability to throw up when they are ill. According to one estimation, it takes about 64 seconds for something to move from the stomach to the mouth in a human. This estimation is because it takes humans two seconds to move something from the stomach to the mouth. According to some other sources, the time required could range anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the quantity and size of the giraffe.

Do giraffes spit out their stomach?

They will chew their food thoroughly before swallowing it, and then they will regurgitate it without spitting it out. After that, they chew their food once more and swallow it. Because of this, it may seem as though giraffes are constantly chewing, even when they are not in the vicinity of a source of food. Giraffes are classified as ruminants, which places them in the same category as cows, deer, and antelopes.

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