Okapi Johnstoni


Domain Eukarya: have a nucleus, single celled or multicellular, living organisms

Kingdom Animalia:
Multicellular, Heterotrophs, most ingest food and digest

Phylum Chordata: defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, Bilateral symmetry, Complete digestive system

SubPhylum Vertebrata: bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton, cranium, visceral arches, limb gridles, 2 pairs of appendages, kidneys with ducts to drain waste to an exterior digestive system with large digestive glands, liver, and pancreas

Class Mammalia: Mammals have hair at some point during their development, typically characterized by their highly differentiated teeth, lower jaw made up of single bone

Order Artiodactyle: most diverse, large, terrestrial alive today, live in relatively open habitats, structure of the foot is especially diagnostic, obligated herbivores, consisting of browsers, grazers and mixed feeders

Family Giraffidae: family incluldes only two living species, restricted to Subsaharan Africa, lack sagittal crests, rough, thickened areas near the junction of the nasals and frontals, have a complex four-chambered, ruminating stomach


Common Characteristics

Shoulder Height: female: 4.7-5.2 ft Male: 4.6-5.1 ft

Length: 2.5 m for both sexes

Weight: males: 180-260 kg female: 240-356 kg

Camouflage: deep velvety purple black, face is whitish except for a dark gray crown, blackish muzzle

Color/body form: white horizontal stripes on rump, upper front legs with anklets and stocking on lower legs, cheeks, throat, rear belly whitish grey tan, back & sides velvety, dark reddish-brown

Diet: young shoots, buds, grass, leaves, fruits, ferns

Newborn: can stand up within 30 min, same coloring as an adult but have a short fringe of hair along their spine, mothers hide their newborn in one spot, called calf or calves, starts trying solid food at just three weeks, triple their size by the end of their second month, do not reach full adult size until three years of age

Habitat: Rain forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, River banks, stream beds, forest growth

Why is it related to a giraffe: its prehensile tongue, its habitat, very large upright ears

Predators: Humans, leopards, golden cats

Physical Adaptations

Males have a pair of horns that help them protect their habitat. They

pluck their tongue while they eat, this helps the Okapi handle their food. Okapi

rely a lot on their sharp hearing to warn them of danger. If predators were to sneak up behind them they would be able to hear them ahead of time and run away to safety. They are able to pick up even the softest of sounds with their sensitive ears. Their long necks help the Okapi to reach the majority of their body, so they can keep themselves clean. Okapi have a great camouflage to help them blend with their environment. Their stripes also help the young follow their mom through the rain forest at night. Having a very oily skin helps the water slide off quickly keeping them dry.

Behavioral Adaptations

They tend to use their hind legs to kick at an aggressor, this is how they protect themselves from predators. Male Okapi mark their territory with their urine, this action tends to defend against predators and warn anyone other male Okapi not to enter their territory. They communicate by vocal sounds. As if they were to have a special call for being in danger. Their not very social animals, they tend to feed in small groups for just a short amount of time. The alpha male of the group sticks its neck up high to let the rest of the herd know who is the boss. Okapi occasionally like to social groom (pick bugs off of each other) to clean each others body.


Burton, M. (2002). Okapi. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 13, pp. 1786-1787). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Newborn okapi. (n.d.). Newborn Okapi. Retrieved from Google database.

Okapi. (n.d.). Okapi. Retrieved from Wikipedia database.

Palkovacs, E. 2000. "Okapia johnstoni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Okapia_johnstoni