Listen: How Do Giraffes Spend Their Evenings? Humming, Of Course

This recording reveals a sound even zookeepers haven't noticed. | By NGT Staff  
Giraffe Wildlife
The humming could be an unobtrusive method to keep the herd together at dark. Photo: Son of Groucho/Flickr/Creative Commons (

Have you ever wondered what sounds a giraffe makes? New research shows that the animals aren’t as quiet as we once thought. Turns out that come evening, giraffes hum.

A recent study by researchers from the University of Vienna found that giraffes produce a low hum in the evenings. As Wired points out, it was earlier assumed that giraffes couldn’t really produce any sounds because they couldn’t get enough airflow through their long necks to make their vocal chords vibrate. As it turns out, a giraffe’s larynx is similar to that of a horse. But while zookeepers have heard giraffes snort, the humming had never been picked up by the staff of the three European zoos in the study.

The researchers had to visually examine the giraffes’ acoustic data—over 900 hours of recordings made over eight years—to discover the humming. The sound is at a very low frequency, 92Hz, which while not impossible to hear for humans, requires effort to pick up. Click on the recording below to listen.

Now that we know what giraffes sound like, the next step is figuring out what these sounds actually mean. As Wired  suggests, the humming could be an unobtrusive method to keep the herd together at dark.

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