Are giraffes more likely to be struck by lightning?
November 11, 2019 8:36PM
According to a paper published in 2011 by one of the foremost experts on lightning safety, Chandima Gomes, "animals with a large separation between their front and back feet... are vulnerable to receive lightning injuries due to the dangerous potential differences that may built up between these feet, in the event of nearby lightning." The paper went on to say that taller animals like giraffes and elephants could be more susceptible to "side flashes," where lightning rebounds after striking a nearby tree.
Giraffes being long and tall, those two points seem to indicate that they’re more likely to be struck, but because the occurrence of lightning striking an animal is so rare, there is not enough numerical evidence to support the theory. According to Julian Fennessy, a Namibia-based conservationist and chair of the International Giraffe Working Group, "if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time you're susceptible—it's not that giraffes stand out like lightning rods."