The giraffe catfish is found throughout Africa in lakes and rivers, partially due to introduction and establishment in other areas. It is found in many important lakes and rivers such as the Nile and Lake Chad. Its distribution covers includes bodies of water from East Africa to West Africa. It generally lives in shallow waters with muddy bottoms
This fish has a maximum size that sources say are between two and three feet.
The giraffe-like pattern will fade with age to a two-tone mottled brown. Various subspecies have been described for this fish, indicating some geographical variation in coloration