Allie Period 3 5/16/16

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Okapi have a very interesting habitat. Mostly, this odd creature lives in Africa, Rain Forests, or zoos all over the (Okapi Distribution and Habitat). They are very endangered animals, having only about 10,000 or 20,000 of their kind left, their habitat is constantly changing. Okapi mostly live in dense places with trees and bushes. In the wild, okapi usually live near waterways so that they can stay hydrated at all times. Okapi avoid swamps, and we are still unsure of why. The most common habitat of the okapi though, are zoos because they are so endangered.
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The okapi are very active animals from midday to nightfall. Yet they are very shy and quick to get away. This is because people endanger and scare the okapi into hiding. When males are around each other, they mostly fight over either territory or a female. When okapi are calves, their mom will use coughs, bleats, and whistles (Okapi) to communicate with her calf while she is gathering food or doing any other activities away from her home. Okapi calves can walk within about a half hour of birth and are always quiet animals. Overall, okapi are very fast, quiet, active animals.
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Body Covering

The okapi is a mixture of a horse, zebra, and giraffe, so it has all of those features, a horse like head, zebra striped on it's legs and rump (Okapi) and a long, giraffe like neck. The average size of an female adult okapi is 5 feet long. Male okapi however have two skin covered horns on the top of their heads by their ears. Okapi are very good at hiding. This is because of their unique body covering. Because of their velvet-brown (Okapi) colored fur coat and sunlike stripes, they are excellent hiders. The okapi also use their long necks to fight each other and for defense. Okapi have white stripes and white ankles, they can use this to their advantage of hiding from predators and waiting for prey. The okapi also have large ears and a dark mouth with a very long, dark tongue that can reach to its ears and eyes. Okapi have hooves on each foot that give off an aroma that means that an okapi has recently been there. The okapi have a very unique and unusual body covering.


The okapi's diet is very interesting. Okapi eat many different items based on their different habitats such as living in the wild and living in zoos. Okapi are herbivores and eat twigs, fungi, shoots, and over one-hundred plants that are poisonous to humans. Whether the okapi finds food for itself or it's mom scavengers for food and brings it back, the okapi always eat during the day. In the wild, okapi eat leafs, bushes, flowers, and from trees. They also eat many minerals in the wild. In zoos, okapi eat hay, fruit, potatoes, and a reddish clay (Okapi). Okapi also eat salted cubes in zoos. This gives okapi a good amount of minerals. Okapi have a different diet based on their habitats, but they are both very unique.


A baby okapi is called a calf. Gestation usually takes 16 months (Okapi Reproduction and Life Cycles), or 427 to 457 days. Calves are usually born around the wet months, but can be born all around the year. When a calf is born, there is usually only one at a time and are about 30 to 35 pounds when they are born, and about 2.6 feet long. They can stand within 30 minutes within being born and have a small head, short neck, thick legs, and have a mane for the only time in their lives. Nursing is frequent and are weaned for 6 months. Once okapi calves are about 3 years old, they have reached their full size.
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Okapi have adapted many things to make their life better and easier. For example they are solitary and will sometimes live with more okapi, but it is not likely. They like to be clean and keep a clean coat so they will groom itself with it's tongue. They are very secretive because they are being threatened by hunters trying to kill them. Okapi are very territorial and will fight when another okapi is on their territory. With dark skin and stripes, the okapi has great camouflage which is good for hiding from predators or waiting for prey. Okapi have a secret language that they use for communicating with each other. A calf and it's mother also use these noises to communicate with each other while the mom is out looking for food. Predators and humans are unable to hear these noises, and okapi can hear from long distances. Okapi have very long tongues that can help them reach high and low for their food. They have a lot of agility and can dodge trees, rocks, and bushes. Okapi are so quiet, and quick, that they were not known until 1901(Okapi Description). The okapi is a very adaptive animal and they are very skilled.

Other Info

  • Forest giraffe
  • Very rare
  • Mostly giraffe
  • Giraffe's only relative
  • Males moan
  • Females bellow
  • Elusive (Mammals 6, 58)
  • Protected since 1933
  • Scientific name- Okapia johnstoni (Mammals 6, 58)
  • Their tongue can reach to it's eyes and ears
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Works Cited

Wildscreen Archive. "Okapi." asf. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016. <http://www.arkive.org/okapi/okapia-johnstoni/>.

"Okapi." a-z animals. OpenCrypt Membership Software, 2008. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://a-z-animals.com/animals/okapi/>.

Davies, Angela, and Penny Mathias, eds. Mammals. 6th ed. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Vol. 6 of Mammals 6. Mammals 6.

Los Angeles Zoo Association. "Okapi." Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.lazoo.org/animals/mammals/okapi/>.

San Diego Zoo. "Mammals | Okapi." San Diego Zoo. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 May 2016. <http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/okapi>.