There is a lot of controversy over the true answer to The Great Giraffe Challenge riddle on Facebook.  Once and for all, we end this debate with logic and wit to give all the haters the real answer.

The instigator of the viral riddle is New Zealander Andrew Strugnell. While he admits he did not pen the riddle, many people are arguing that they got the riddle correct even though their answer contradicts Strugnell's. So why is it so difficult to accept Strugnell's answer?

The Great Giraffe Challenge Riddle

It’s 3am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors!! It’s your parents and they are here for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?

Possible Answers

Door - Many angry riddlees are arguing that the door would be the first thing you open because you wouldn't know it was your parents at the door until you opened the door. While I understand this logic, it's not correct because the riddle never says that you know your parents are at the door. The riddle explains that your parents are at the door as unexpected guests, but it never actually states that you know this. Plus, the riddle says you wake up, and in order to wake up and walk to the door, most people would need to open his or her eyes at some point.

Mouth - What if you yawn first upon waking and then open your eyes? The only way I think someone would possibly yawn before opening their eyes in this riddle scenario is if the doorbell was one of those soothing types and not the classic 'ding-dong' variety that tends to startle most everyone. Or maybe you suck your thumb, and the first thing you would do upon waking is pull your thumb from your mouth.

Fridge - This logic follows that of the door and is defeated by the same logic. It would be very difficult to get to the fridge with your eyes closed. And you would probably step on your cat causing you to open your eyes!

Eyes - This is the most widely accepted answer, and according to Strugnell, the only answer to avoid the humiliation of being a Giraffe on Facebook. If you are asleep as the riddle defines, and the doorbell rings, the first thing you would do is open your eyes upon hearing the doorbell.

Riddle Explanation

In order to solve a riddle, you must be fully in the context of the riddle. Many people are arguing the riddle claims you have woken up, and, therefore, you have already opened your eyes. This is the witty part of the riddle. Upon listening to or reading a riddle, most people will put themselves into the situation in their head and forget details that are hard to visualize. Because it's hard to visualize being unconscious and asleep at 3am, as the riddle explains, we ignore that part of the riddle and logically go to the next step which is being conscious or awake. Good riddles make us miss the obvious. Adding the extra stuff about breakfast and parents serves to distract you from the waking up portion. If the protagonist of the riddle was changed to "George" instead of "you" and the rest of the riddle was removed, it would be much easier to visualize. It’s 3am, the doorbell rings and George wakes up. What does George open first?

Further explanation

I think what most people are missing is the key word 'first' in the original riddle. Karl Zimmerman gave a good alternative riddle to help explain his thought process in the comments below:

It is 3AM. The doorbell rings, you wake up and grab two apples. What is in your hands?

Karl proposes that it depends on if the riddle is asking what is in your hands at 3am or immediately following the story of events in the riddle. In which case, it is impossible to know the correct answer. Is it two apples? Is it nothing because you were sleeping with empty hands? But in the original Great Giraffe Challenge riddle, the final line reads, "What is the first thing you open." The word first means the very first thing you open in the time frame of the riddle. While the riddle does explain that you wake up during the riddle, it still begins with you asleep because you can't wake up without first being asleep.

Let's look at a different way. Pretend the riddle is changed to a list of directions on how to change a tire:

It's 3am and your back driver-side tire bursts. You get out of your car and open the trunk to get the spare and jack. You raise the car on the jack. You then remove the flat and replace it with the spare. To celebrate, you buy three kinds of soda at the next gas station: Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, and Sprite. You decide to drink them all in celebration. But before you get a chance, the bumpy road causes all three cans to burst. What bursts first?

Answer: The back driver-side tire.

Do you agree? Is there another answer not listed here?


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