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The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)

The Okapi is a strange-looking animal, as it kind of looks like the cross between a giraffe and a zebra. However, this is not all that this amazing animal is. So let's look at some of the awesome tidbits of what makes up this strange animal.





Physical Description and Behavior


The Okapi is a longer necked animal that is similar to the giraffe. In fact, they are the closest relative to the giraffe. They have a darker hide on their back, which contrasts with their white and black striped legs. These stripes may be used to disorient predators, helping them to survive longer.


They also have fairly long ears and really small cute horns. These horns do not appear in females, which are often smaller and redder than their male counterparts.


While they are diurnal, they often spend several hours at night foraging for food. This is easier for them as their eyes are more adapted to see in the dark.


These animals are herbivores, eating mainly tree leaves, grasses, fruit, and fungus. Despite having a longer neck, they are unique in their ability to search for understory vegetation. This is where their long 18-inch tongue comes into play. They use this to both search for food, as well as for grooming. Seeing it in action is certainly a sight to behold.


Habitat and Location





These animals live primarily in the northern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their range is from the Maiko National Park up north to the Ituri rainforest.


The IUCN categorizes this as a threatened species. This is mainly due to logging, mining, and hunting that happens to them. A lot of the issue with their declining population also has to do with wars and civil unrest that is happening in the congo.


To learn more about this fascinating animal, check out this video below: