The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is also called the Forest Giraffe, the Congolese Giraffe or the Zebra Giraffe. It is related to the giraffe; it is a giraffid. It is a ruminant ungulate mammal – a plant eating hoofed animal. It is an artiodactyl.
The Okapi has chocolate to reddish brown fur. Its legs have white horizontal stripes with white ankles. Its face, throat, and chest are greyish white. It has a long neck and large flexible ears. Males have short ossicones (like giraffes) that are bony structures covered in hair – they are not horns. It has a long tongue.
It measures 150 centimetres (59 inches) tall, with a body length of 250 centimetres (98.5 inches). Its tongue is about 47 centimetres (18 inches) long.
The Okapi is native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country in central Africa. It prefers tropical forests.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It is herbivorous, eating tree leaves, grasses, ferns, fruit, and fungi. Its teeth are flat, which is ideal for cutting grass. Its long tongue enables it to wrap around leaves and pull them off a tree. Its main predator is the leopard.
The Okapi is usually solitary and territorial, protecting its territory.
The female Okapi is pregnant for 440-450 days, before giving birth to a single live young, called a calf. The calf can stand up within 30 minutes.
The average lifespan is 20-30 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM