Okapia johnstoni

Animals of Africa Back
Okapis are the only living relative of the giraffe, having similar physical characteristics such as large, upright ears and long, dark prehensile tongues. Although having zebra-like stripes, they are not related to zebras; these stripes help to camouflage the okapi when hiding in partial sunlight that filters through the dense rain forest. Okapis also have fur that is oily, keeping the animal dry when it rains by allowing the water to slide right off. 

Okapis tend to travel alone, except for a mother with her calf. Territories are marked by the tar-like substance that is secreted from a scent gland behind each foot when the animal walks. Males may also spray their territory with urine. Females are allowed to pass through a male’s territory if in search of food, but males try to keep other males out.  

In order to protect okapi calves from predation, the young do not defecate (poop) for the first time until they are 1 to 2 months old. By this time, they have tripled in size and have had the chance to gain strength.


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