23 Animals With Long Necks

Animals With Long Necks
Photo by Edgar on Unsplash

Long necks are an extraordinary feature in the animal kingdom that has evolved as a survival tactic for various species.

From giraffes to snakes, these creatures have adapted to reach their food or defend themselves against predators uniquely. 

We will closely examine the top animals with long necks. From majestic giants to slithering reptiles, these animals have amazed us with their elongated necks and how they use them to their advantage.

Let’s dive in and discover the amazing adaptations of these incredible animals with long necks!

1. Giraffe

by Ray in Manila is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Starting our list of animals with long necks is none other than the iconic Giraffe. With a neck measuring up to six feet long, this African mammal has the longest neck of any animal globally.

Despite its incredible length, the giraffe’s neck comprises only seven vertebrae – the same as humans. 

So why do giraffes have such long necks? It’s believed that they evolved this way to reach higher branches and leaves on trees, which other herbivores couldn’t access.

This adaptation allowed giraffes to survive in areas with less competition for food.

Today, giraffes are one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved animals, with their long necks making them instantly recognizable.

2. Ostrich

by PhotogragherGirl is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ostrich is also one of the animals with long necks. In fact, the ostrich has the longest neck of any bird species.

Their necks can grow up to nine feet long, more than twice the length of their bodies.

This impressive adaptation allows ostriches to reach and eat vegetation out of reach for other animals. 

Ostriches are also unique in that they can use their necks for defense. When threatened, an ostrich will lower its neck to the ground and kick out with its powerful legs.

This can deliver a devastating blow to predators or other threats. With its impressive size and long neck, the ostrich is a true wonder of the animal kingdom.

3. Camel

by D-Stanley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The camel is also one of the majestic animals with long necks, making it an iconic desert animal.

They are native to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and are well-adapted to living in arid climates.

The average camel can grow about 6 feet tall, and their long necks allow them to reach high branches on trees to forage for food.

One of the most unique features of the camel is its ability to store fat in its hump and use it as a source of energy. This allows them to go for long periods without food or water. 

Their long necks also come in handy when looking for water, as they can spot oases from far away. The camel’s long neck is crucial to survival in the harsh desert environment.

4. Emu

by AntoGros is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Emu is a large, flightless bird found in Australia. It is the second tallest bird in the world, with a height of up to 6 feet (1.8 meters). 

The Emu’s neck is long and slender, allowing it to reach vegetation that is out of reach for other animals.

It can also use its neck to detect predators from a distance and keep an eye on its surroundings.

Interestingly, the Emu’s neck is long and very flexible. It has 24 vertebrae that allow it to move its head in various directions.

This is useful for the Emu when it needs to change direction to evade predators quickly.

Despite their long necks, Emus are not known for using them in aggressive displays like other animals with long necks, such as giraffes.

5. Gerenuk

by t3rmin4t0r is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a unique antelope species with an extremely long neck.

Found in the arid regions of Eastern Africa, this animal is known for its incredible ability to stand on its hind legs and stretch out its long neck to reach for leaves and branches high up in trees.

Unlike other antelopes that primarily graze on grass, Gerenuks have evolved to adapt to their harsh environment by being selective browsers.

Their long necks and slender bodies make them agile climbers, allowing them to reach for leaves and fruits that other herbivores cannot reach. 

Their elongated necks can grow up to 30 inches long, which is more than half of their body length.

It is incredible to watch them in the wild, standing on their hind legs with long necks stretched high.

6. Llama

by Ronnie Macdonald is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While not as well-known for their long necks as other animals on this list, llamas have relatively lengthy necks.

They use these necks to graze on plants and foliage at high elevations, often in the Andes mountains of South America, where they are native.

In addition to their long necks, llamas are known for their distinctive wooly coats and use as pack animals.

Interestingly, llamas are closely related to alpacas, which also have long necks and are used for their wool.

However, alpacas are smaller and have a more compact body shape, whereas llamas are larger and more robust.

If you ever find yourself hiking in the Andes mountains, watch for these unique animals with long necks.

7. Greater Rhea

Greater Rhea
by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Greater Rhea, also known as the American Rhea, is a flightless bird native to South America.

It is the largest bird in the Americas, standing up to five feet tall and weighing up to 88 pounds. But what sets the Greater Rhea apart from other large birds is its incredibly long neck.

The Greater Rhea’s neck is almost as long as its body, and it uses it to reach for leaves and fruit on trees. Its long neck also helps it spot predators from a distance, giving it time to run away.

Despite its size, the Greater Rhea is a fast runner and can reach up to 40 miles per hour. Its long neck is just one of the many adaptations that make this bird unique.

8. Black Swan

Black Swan
by Martin Cooper Ipswich is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Black Swan is a majestic waterbird that is native to Australia. It is well-known for its striking black plumage and long neck, which it uses to forage for food underwater.

Black Swans can reach their long necks up to two meters in length, making them one of the animals with the longest necks in the bird kingdom.

Aside from its elegant appearance, the Black Swan also plays an important role in Australian folklore and culture.

It symbolizes grace, beauty, and resilience and is often featured in artworks, literature, and performances.

If you ever find yourself in Australia, don’t miss the chance to see these stunning animals with long necks in their natural habitat.

9. Flamingo

by Keith Roper is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Flamingos are famous for their pink feathers and graceful appearance, but they are also known for their incredibly long necks.

In fact, a flamingo’s neck can measure up to 4 feet long! This allows them to easily reach the shallow waters where they feed on algae, shrimp, and other small aquatic creatures. 

Let me tell you the facts! Not only do their long necks serve a functional purpose, but they also play a role in attracting mates.

Flamingos perform a beautiful courtship dance during mating season, stretching their necks upwards and making various sounds. 

The longer the neck of a male flamingo, the more attractive he is to potential mates. Flamingos truly are remarkable creatures with their unique physical features and fascinating behaviors.

10. Great Egret

Great Egret
by lensnmatter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Great Egret is a stunning bird with an incredibly long neck. This magnificent creature is found in wetland habitats throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Southern Europe.

Known for their graceful and majestic appearance, Great Egrets stand out with their bright white feathers and long, slender necks.

Apart from their long necks, Great Egrets are known for their sharp beaks and impressive wingspan.

These animals with long necks can measure up to 39-41 inches in length, with their necks accounting for nearly half of their body length.

Their long necks allow them to forage for food in shallow waters, as they can easily reach prey such as fish and frogs without getting wet.

Watching a Great Egret gracefully glide through the water as it hunts for food is truly a mesmerizing sight.

11. Donkey

by Martin Pettitt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Let’s talk about the donkey, a domestic animal that shares a kinship with the zebra and completes our list of animals with long necks.

There have been debates surrounding the classification of the donkey, with some considering it a subspecies of the African wild ass.

In contrast, others argue it should be recognized as a distinct species. 

The process of domesticating donkeys began approximately 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in Africa.

Over time, they spread to other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, where they became incredibly valuable to humans.

These hardworking animals with long necks have proven indispensable companions, aiding humans in various tasks and serving as reliable partners in transportation and agricultural activities.

12. Snake-necked Turtles

Snake-necked Turtles
by blachswan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You’ll love the snake-necked turtle if you’re a fan of unique and fascinating animals with long necks.

As its name suggests, this turtle has a long neck that is flexible enough to fold in half and resemble a snake.

Native to Australia, these turtles can grow up to 9 inches long and be found in freshwater and brackish environments.

One interesting fact about the snake-necked turtle is that it uses its long neck to catch prey, such as insects and small fish. It will strike its neck out quickly, catching the prey off-guard. 

Additionally, these turtles have unique feeding habits where they will suck up food through their long necks like a straw.

With its unusual appearance and hunting tactics, the snake-necked turtle is definitely an animal worth admiring.

13. Dreadnoughtus Schrani

Dreadnoughtus Schrani is a massive herbivorous dinosaur that lived about 77 million years ago. It was discovered in Argentina and is estimated to have weighed around 60 metric tons.

The most distinctive feature of this dinosaur was its extremely long neck, which was about 37 feet long! It is considered one of the longest necks in the animal kingdom.

Despite its huge size, Dreadnoughtus Schrani was relatively slender, which allowed it to move quickly and efficiently.

It is believed that this dinosaur used its long neck to reach vegetation that was out of reach for other herbivores.

Although extinct, the Dreadnoughtus Schrani’s long neck remains a fascinating and impressive example of natural adaptation and evolution.

14. Common Crane

Common Crane
by chaz jackson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re curious about cranes, one particular species you’ll come across is the common crane, also known as the Eurasian crane.

These magnificent animals with long necks are often found in Europe and Siberia. 

What sets them apart from other crane species is their stable population status. Unlike many other endangered or threatened cranes, the common crane is considered the least concerning.

While cranes share similarities with herons, their flight style is distinct.

While herons hold their long necks back during flight, cranes gracefully keep them outstretched, creating a beautiful sight in the sky.

Regarding their diet, cranes are omnivores, consuming both plants and animals.

Their plant-based meals consist of roots, tubers, stems, leaves, fruits, and seeds, allowing them to make the most of the vegetation around them.

In terms of animal prey, cranes have a diverse menu. They feed on insects, snails, earthworms, spiders, crabs, and even amphibians.

Their adaptability in consuming plant and animal matter contributes to their ability to thrive in various environments.

15. Brachiosaurus Altithorax

Brachiosaurus Altithorax is an extinct dinosaur species that lived during the Late Jurassic period.

This dinosaur is known for having an incredibly long neck, measuring up to 30 feet in length. The neck alone is longer than many other dinosaurs’ entire bodies!

Scientists believe that the long neck of Brachiosaurus Altithorax helped it reach food sources that were higher up, such as tall trees.

This adaptation allowed it to survive and thrive in its environment.

Although it is no longer around, the long-necked Brachiosaurus Altithorax is a fascinating example of how evolution can create unique and incredible animals.

16. Diplodocus

by Jim Linwood is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Diplodocus, also known as the double-beamed dinosaur, is a member of the sauropod family. It is known for its incredibly long neck, almost half its body length.

The Diplodocus had 15 vertebrae in its neck, which allowed it to reach high up into the trees to feed on leaves. 

During the Late Jurassic period, the Diplodocus lived about 156-145 million years ago.

Its fossils have been found in North America and are believed to have been one of the longest animals ever lived.

Although it is now extinct, it remains a fascinating creature and an important part of our understanding of prehistoric life.

17. King Vulture

King Vulture
by angela n. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The King Vulture is a striking bird found in Central and South America. It’s known for its distinct appearance, with a bald, multicolored head and a thick, powerful neck.

But what truly sets the King Vulture apart is its long neck, which enables it to reach deep into carcasses to feed on meat that other scavengers can’t reach. 

In fact, the King Vulture has one of the strongest necks of any bird, capable of easily tearing through tough hide and bone.

You can’t believe the King Vulture is a fairly peaceful bird despite its formidable appearance. It typically feeds on the carcasses of dead animals and rarely hunts live prey. 

In many cultures, the King Vulture is seen as a symbol of purification, as it helps to clean up the environment by consuming decaying flesh.

So while it may not be the most glamorous or well-known animal with a long neck, the King Vulture plays an important role in the ecosystem and deserves recognition for its impressive physique and helpful behavior.

18. Okapi

by andrusdevelopment is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The okapi may not be as well-known as some other animals on this list, but it deserves recognition for its impressive neck.

These elusive creatures, native to the Democratic Republic of Congo, have long, slender necks around 14-18 inches long.

While they may look similar to a zebra at first glance, they are actually related to giraffes and have similar skull structures.

One of the most interesting facts about okapis is that their long necks allow them to reach leaves and fruits higher up in trees, which other animals cannot access.

They are also known for being incredibly secretive and difficult to spot in the wild, making sightings a rare and special experience for those lucky to encounter them.

19. Alpaca

by CmdrGravy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Did you know that the alpaca and the llama share many similarities and are often confused?

However, it’s important to understand that they are different animals, and the alpaca is generally smaller. 

Both of them are animals with long necks; interestingly, they can be cross-bred. The alpaca is native to South America and has been domesticated over time.

Regarding their diet, alpacas feed on hay, grass, and sometimes silage. They tend to chew on almost everything, so it’s common for owners to ensure a good supply of food is available most of the time.

Taking care of and training an alpaca is generally relatively easy. However, it’s worth noting that potential owners should be aware of their territorial behaviors.

Additionally, alpacas are social animals that typically move in herds, so keeping them in groups is often beneficial for their well-being.

20. Herons

by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re interested in herons, you’ll find that they belong to a diverse group of 64 bird species.

These animals with long necks share similar characteristics, such as long legs and long necks. While not all of them are called herons, some are referred to as egrets or bitterns.

While herons may be associated with other birds like storks, cranes, ibises, and spoonbills, they have a distinctive flight style.

Unlike these birds, herons fly with their necks drawn back, not outstretched, giving them a unique appearance in the air.

The size of herons varies significantly among the different species, ranging from as small as 10 inches to as large as 60 inches.

As carnivores, herons have a diverse diet, which includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. 

Some herons even go for larger prey, such as other birds and rodents. While it’s rare, there have been reports of a few herons consuming plants, but it’s not common among them.

21. Horse

by BinaryApe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Although horses are not typically known for their long necks, some breeds have longer necks than others. One such breed is the Andalusian horse, known for its elegant and arched neck.

Another breed is the Friesian horse, which is often seen with a thick and muscular neck that is both strong and visually striking. 

Other breeds with notable necks include the Arabian horse, which has a long and slender neck often adorned with elaborate headgear, and the Thoroughbred, which has a powerful and streamlined neck essential for its high-speed racing abilities.

Despite their varying neck lengths, all horses rely heavily on their necks for movement and balance.

The neck is a critical connection between the horse’s head and body, allowing it to regulate speed, maintain posture, and communicate with its rider.

So even though horses may not be the first animals that come to mind when we think of long necks, their necks play a vital role in their everyday lives and should not be overlooked.

22. Zebra

by ross_hawkes is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The zebra is a well-known African animal characterized by its black and white striped coat. But did you know that zebras are also animals with long necks?

Their necks may not be as long as a giraffe’s, but they are still quite impressive. 

Zebras use their long necks to reach leaves and branches that are out of reach for other grazing animals. A zebra’s neck comprises seven vertebrae, the same number as a human’s neck. 

The length of their necks can vary depending on the species, with some having longer necks than others.

Interestingly, the stripes on a zebra’s neck continue all the way down to its hooves, making for a unique and beautiful pattern.

23. Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon
by Vagmak at the Zoo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You may have heard of the Komodo dragon, the monitor.

This impressive creature can only be found on a few Indonesian islands: Komodo (where it got its name), Flores, Rinca, and Gili Motang.

It’s quite remarkable, with a length of around 10 feet and weighing over 100 pounds, making it the largest living lizard species known to us.

Similar to other lizards, the Komodo dragon has specific dietary preferences. It primarily feeds on invertebrates, birds, and even mammals.

Due to its substantial size, it sits confidently at the top of its food chain, being an apex predator.

Unfortunately, the Komodo dragon is endangered, which explains why its habitat is limited to these islands.

24. Anhinga

by James St. John is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ending our list of animals with long necks is  Anhinga, a fascinating water bird found in the American continents’ warmer regions.

If you ever encounter this bird, you’ll notice it prefers shallow waters. 

It has a unique habit of swimming with its head held high above the water’s surface, which might make you mistake it for a snake due to its long neck.

That’s why it’s commonly known as the snakebird. It also goes by names such as Darter, American Darter, and water turkey.

As a stalking predator, the Anhinga focuses on hunting small aquatic creatures like fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates.

It has a remarkable technique for catching its prey—it uses its pointed bill to spear them skillfully.

So next time you spot this intriguing bird, observe its remarkable hunting strategy as it searches for a delicious meal in the water.


Animals have a remarkable ability to adapt to their surroundings, and the evolution of long necks is one of the most fascinating adaptations of the animal kingdom.

These creatures have elongated necks that help them reach for food, keep a lookout for predators, or engage in impressive mating rituals. 

Some of these animals with long necks are popular and easy to spot, while others remain elusive, making it thrilling to see them in action.

Our article has taken a closer look at the top animals with long necks. Enjoy your adventure!! 

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