Hidden in the shadows of Africa’s dense Ituri Forest lives a shy relative of the giraffe called the okapi. Like the giraffe, the okapi uses its long, prehensile tongue to pluck leaves and buds from trees.
The foot-long tongue also allows the okapi to lick and clean its own eyelids and ears. An okapi also walks like a giraffe, swinging forward both legs on the same side of the body together. Okapis are solitary, only coming together to mate.
- The zebra-like stripes on the back of the okapi’s legs are thought to serve as a “follow me” signal for calves.
- Okapis defend their young from predators, such as the leopard, by kicking with their feet.
- The okapi was only officially discovered in 1900.
Where to see them:
5 to 6.5 ft
460 to 550 lbs
33 yrs in captivity
Leaves and shoots
Species at Risk (IUCN —Lower risk/near threatened)