Papillomavirus was detected electron microscopically in cutaneous fibropapillomas of a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and a sable antelope (Hippotragus niger). The virus particles measured 45 nm in diameter. Histopathologically, the lesions showed histopathological features similar to those of equine sarcoid as well as positive immunoperoxidase-staining of tissue sections for papillomavirus antigen. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detected bovine papillomavirus (BPV) DNA. Bovine papillomavirus-1 was characterised by real-time PCR in the sable and giraffe, and cloning and sequencing of the PCR product revealed a similarity to BPV-1. As in the 1st giraffe, the lesions from a 2nd giraffe revealed locally malignant pleomorphism, possibly indicating the lesional end-point of papilloma infection. Neither virus particles nor positively staining papillomavirus antigen could be demonstrated in the 2nd giraffe but papillomavirus DNA was detected by real-time PCR which corresponded with BPV-1 and BPV-2.