7 Long Necks Animals In The World(Neck Length & Pictures)

Last updated on March 9th, 2024 at 10:54 pm

The evolutionary marvel of long necks in animals continues to captivate scientists, who speculate about the reasons behind this intriguing adaptation. Some long-necked creatures, like giraffes and gerenuks, have harnessed their extended necks to access foliage otherwise out of reach. These remarkable adaptations are a testament to nature’s ingenuity.

The majestic giraffe often comes to mind when most think of animals with long necks. However, there’s a diverse world of creatures whose necks exceed the length of their bodies. In this article, we’ll introduce you to Seven such long-necked animals from around the globe, shedding light on the incredible diversity of life on Earth.

7 Long Necks Animals

1. Giraffe

Long Necks Animals

Scientific Name: Giraffacamelopardalis
Neck Length: Approx. 8 ft. (2.4 m)

An adult male giraffe, known as a bull, boasts the longest neck of any animal globally. While an adult female giraffe, or cow, may have a 7-foot-long neck, a bull’s neck can stretch up to 8 feet.

Native to Southern and Eastern Africa, giraffes inhabit regions prone to prolonged droughts and scarce food. Their long necks enable them to survive in such habitats, reaching leaves and buds inaccessible to other terrestrial browsers, with acacias being their favorite food source.

Male giraffes utilize their extra-long necks to compete for mates. During mating rituals, they engage in neck-fighting, swinging their heads to strike opponents with their heavy, skull-like heads. Longer and thicker-necked males are more likely to emerge victorious and secure mating privileges.

Do you know: Giraffes require only 5 to 30 minutes of sleep within 24 hours! They often achieve this through short naps lasting only a minute or two at a time.

2. Common ostrich

Long Necks Animals

Scientific Name: Struthio camelus
Neck Length: Approx. 3.2 ft. (1 m)

Common ostriches are part of the group of flightless birds known as ratites and are the largest living species of birds found in African savannas. Adult male ostriches stand about 3.2 feet tall, with nearly half of this height attributed to their necks.

Weighing approximately 320 lb. (145 kg), common ostriches are unable to take flight when confronted by predators. However, they have evolved unique abilities to evade danger and thrive in savannas and open woodlands.

The ostrich’s remarkably long neck is flexible, allowing it to turn in any direction and maintain a 360-degree view of its surroundings. This keen vision helps the ostrich detect predators from afar. Additionally, their long, muscular legs enable them to sprint as fast as 43 mph (70 km/h) to swiftly escape any imminent threats.

Do you know: Common ostriches lay their eggs in the nest after mating. But these are no ordinary eggs – they’re the largest eggs in the world, averaging around 15cm long and weighing up to a whopping 1.5kg!

READ ALSO: Animals With Small Ears

3. Gerenuk (Waller’s Gazelle)

Gerenuk (Waller’s Gazelle) is standing in the grass

Scientific Name: Litocranius walleri 
Neck Length: Approx. 0.8 ft. (0.24 m)

Also known as Waller’s gazelle, the gerenuk (pronounced “gair-uh-nook”) derives its name from the Somali language, meaning “giraffe-necked.” This gazelle, native to the open scrublands and lowland areas of the Horn of Africa, boasts an incredibly long neck.

Gerenuks are herbivores, feeding on shoots, thorny bushes, fruits, and flowers. With their 0.8-foot-long necks and powerful hind limbs, they can reach plants growing as high as 6-8 feet. Modified lumbar vertebrae and special wedge-shaped hooves enable them to stand unsupported and browse even taller bushes.

Being able to reach much higher than other gazelles and antelopes allows gerenuks to feed on succulent plants rich in moisture. As a result, they don’t require grass or water to survive, making them well-adapted to thrive in scrublands and deserts.

Do you know: Male gerenuks secrete a thick, tarry substance from ducts near their eyes. They then wipe this fluid on trunks and branches to alert other males of their territorial boundaries. Additionally, male gerenuks mark their territories by urinating.

4. Scarlet ibis

Long Necks Animals

Scientific Name: Eudocimus ruber 
Neck Length: Approx. 0.7 ft. (0.21 m)

The Scarlet Ibis, a vibrant pink bird belonging to the same group as spoonbills, is native to South America. This medium-sized wading bird features a moderately long neck, a long, down-curved bill, and slightly webbed feet. Its habitats range from mudflats and marshes to mangroves, wetlands, bays, swamps, ponds, and more.

Ibises typically stand about two and a half feet tall, with males slightly taller than females. Their diet primarily consists of crayfish, shrimp, crabs, small snakes, fish, frogs, insects, and snails.

When foraging, Ibises use their curved, slender bills to probe into soft mud, sands, and shallow waters to flush out prey. Their long necks aid in guiding their bills through shallow waters and mudflats in search of food. Notably, these birds have played a role in helping farmers control pests harmful to plants!

Do you know: The Scarlet ibis is the only shorebird in the world with a red coloration?

5. Whooper swan

Whooper swan is swimming in the water

Scientific Name: Cygnus cygnus
Neck Length: Approx. 3 ft. (0.91 m) 

Swans, closely related to ducks and geese, are large-bodied birds typically found in temperate regions like Australia, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. They are rare in tropical areas and Africa.

Waterfowl are categorized by their neck bones: ducks have 16, geese have 17-24, and swans, with the longest necks, have 24 or more cervical vertebrae.

The Whooper Swan, among the largest swan species, can reach heights of up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) and measure 5 feet (1.5 meters) from tail to bill tip. Swans typically have longer necks than geese, around 3 feet (0.91 meters) in length.

Primarily herbivorous, swans feed on leaves, roots, stems, and tubers of aquatic plants. Their long, flexible necks enable them to forage in both water and on land. A short-necked swan would struggle to feed underwater and be more vulnerable to predators.

Do you know: The Whooper swan is the national bird of Finland.

READ ALSO: Quiet Animals

6. Flamingo

Flamingos sleep standing on one leg

Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus roseus
Neck Length: Approx. 2.6 ft. (0.79 m)

Flamingos are wading birds with distinctive black flight feathers and pink wing converts. While four species are native to the Americas, two species are found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

These tall birds can reach heights of up to 4.7 feet (1.45 meters) and have long necks, typically growing to about 2.6 feet (0.79 meters).

Their long, s-shaped necks facilitate filter-feeding on brine shrimp, small crustaceans, and blue-green algae. With 19 elongated cervical vertebrae, flamingos can twist their necks for optimal feeding. They can even bend backward to groom their feathers.

Do you know: Flamingos can stand on one foot for extended periods, even long enough to fall asleep. Research indicates they do this to conserve energy, as standing on two legs requires more muscle power.

7. Dromedary Camel

Long Necks Animals

Scientific Name: Camelus dromedaries 
Neck Length: Approx. 6.6 ft. (2 m)

This is also known as the Arabian camel. A dromedary camel is domesticated in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and the Sahara Desert. A full-grown dromedary camel can grow to a shoulder height of 7 feet (2.1 meters) and reach a length of 10 feet (3 meters). The elongation of the neck likely evolved as a secondary advantage to accommodate their long legs, which may have developed for higher browsing, originating in North America.

Camels have a distinctive silhouette, featuring a long neck, humped back, long slim legs, and short tail. Their elongated necks bend downward and rise to a small, slender head. Despite primarily feeding on ground vegetation, their long necks serve a purpose.

Dromedary and Bactrian camel species possess the longest limbs of any living camelids. Their long necks help them avoid kneeling or bending down excessively to feed.

Did you know that camels can go for long periods without water? And when they drink, they can consume up to 100 liters in one sitting!

READ ALSO: Animals With Long Faces

Final Words

The evolution of long necks in animals is influenced by various factors such as feeding strategies and sensory needs. For instance, gerenuks and swans use their long necks to reach inaccessible food sources. Additionally, long necks enhance sensory capabilities, aiding in spotting predators or prey. Ostriches and camels utilize their long necks for situational awareness. Sexual selection also plays a role, as seen in giraffes and giraffe weevils with differing neck lengths.

FAQs

1. What animals have long necks?

Animals with long necks include giraffes, ostriches, flamingos, swans, camels, and certain species of turtles, among others.

2. How do animals with long necks avoid predators?

Long-necked animals often have keen senses, including good eyesight, which helps them detect predators from a distance. Additionally, some, like giraffes, can use their long legs to run quickly when threatened.

3. How do animals like giraffes use their long necks?

Giraffes use their long necks to reach leaves high up in trees, which is their primary source of food. This adaptation allows them to access resources that other herbivores cannot reach.

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