Watch a Shifty Giraffe Shed an Attacking Lion like an NFL Running Back

Having Trouble Watching? Unfortunately sometimes creators disable or remove their video after we publish. Try to Watch on YouTube

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

Share on:
Listen to Article

Continue reading for our analysis...

Northern Giraffe
© Jane Rix/

Key Points

  • Giraffes can kick with all four legs with large hooves that can kill or deal significant damage to large animals like lions.
  • As the lioness in the video was chasing the giraffe – the giraffe’s child kicked the lion so its mother could escape!
  • Both lions went for the juvenile giraffe – but failed to bring the young hero down as it ran away with its mother.

There’s nothing quite as powerful as a mother’s love for a child. Even in the wild, a mother will do just about anything to keep her young safe and secure. Giraffes typically closely guard their offspring to ensure their safety. 

A giraffe will kick to defend both itself and its offspring if it feels threatened. Giraffes have hooves the size of a large dining plate and can kick with all four legs. An adult giraffe’s well-placed blow can kill large creatures like lions and cause significant damage.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows the shoe on the other foot. It starts with a mother giraffe being chased by a lioness. See, lionesses do all the hunting in a pride and if one is chasing after another animal, it’s game on! 

824 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?
Lioness walking into water

Lions will enter the water to capture prey.


As the mother giraffe is running from the deadly predator, her young bursts out of the tree line, also being pursued by a lioness. These big cats thought they’d be having fresh giraffes for lunch, but the tall, gentle giants of the jungle had other plants. 

The quick-witted lioness changed her strategy and went after the younger enemy, but she made a mistake decision and was knocked to the ground. Due to the surviving lioness trailing behind, the two giraffes were able to escape.

Giraffe Facts - Giraffe neck

A giraffe will kick to defend both itself and its offspring if it feels threatened.


All in a Day’s Work

The giraffe can run at a speed of 38 miles per hour and has the longest stride of any land mammal. They run at a distinctive loping pace, with the left legs moving first, then the right legs. 

These massive creatures don’t even seem to be moving quickly. It appears as though they are going slowly. Then you try to keep up with one and realize that its top speed of about 40 miles per hour is quite remarkable. 

Considering their size, this is a modest top speed. The giraffe’s legs are extraordinarily lengthy for its nearly 20-foot height. A giraffe’s stride is considerably longer than a person’s. Therefore it doesn’t have to move swiftly to run quickly.

Giraffes move both of their left legs first when they run, followed by both of their right legs. Giraffes maintain their walking-like stride pattern while running. They simply carry it out a little faster. The majority of the forward motion is produced by their back legs, which are crossed outside of their front legs. 

Another fun fact is that their front legs are roughly 10% longer than their back legs! Throughout their migratory treks, giraffes frequently cross rivers, yet occasionally they may simply walk down the bottom of a river and yet still keep their heads dry. They are also superb swimmers! 

A giraffe can jump too. But given that you are currently the tallest land animal, why jump? These creatures no longer need to jump because of evolution. Instead, they extend their long necks to graze on the tallest tree branches. 

Share this post on:
About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.