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Okapi has two-toned hair that is red clay and light white. She has very large ears that are light maroon and dark brown on edges. She wears a white bow-tie with black and white edges. Her tank top is maroon, and she has detached sleeves and striped in black and white. She wears cut-off jean shorts with zebra-striped leggings, with gray and white shoes.
In Real Life
The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe, congolese giraffe or zebra giraffe is the only other living member of the Giraffidae family, excluding Giraffes. It bears resemblance of a Zebra, but aren't related. Okapi is a medium-sized giraffid, standing 1.5 m tall at the shoulder. Its average body length is about 2.5 m and its weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg.
It has a long neck, and large and flexible ears. The coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs and white ankles. The striking stripes make it resemble a zebra. These features serve as an effective camouflage amidst dense vegetation. The face, throat, and chest are greyish white. Interdigital glands are present on all four feet, and are slightly larger on the front feet. Male okapis have short, hair-covered horns called ossicones, less than 15 cm in length.
The okapi exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females 4.2 cm taller on average, slightly redder, and lacking prominent ossicones, instead possessing hair whorls. The okapi can be easily distinguished from its nearest extant relative, the giraffe. It is much smaller and shares more external similarities with the deer and bovids than with the giraffe. While both sexes possess horns in the giraffe, only males bear horns in the okapi.
The okapi has large palatine sinuses, unique among the giraffids. Morphological similarities shared between the giraffe and the okapi include a similar gait. They both use a pacing gait, stepping simultaneously with the front and the hind leg on the same side of the body, unlike other ungulates that walk by moving alternate legs on either side of the body.
Okapis live in the clearings and forest areas of the rainforest that are not dense with foliage. Okapis prefer to live in large, secluded areas. This has led to problems with the Okapi population due to the shrinking size of the land they live on.
Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. They are essentially solitary. However, okapis tolerate each other in the wild and may even feed in small groups for short periods of time.
Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. They are unique in the Ituri Forest as they are the only known mammal that feeds solely on understory vegetation, where they use their 46 cm tongues to selectively browse for suitable plants. The tongue is also used to groom their ears and eyes.
Over 100 plant species are fed upon to okapi, some of which are known to be poisonous to humans and other animals. Facial analysis shows that the charcoal from trees burnt by lightning is consumed as well. Field observations indicate that the okapis mineral and salt requirements are filled primarily by a sulphurous, slightly salty, reddish clay found near rivers and streams.
An infant of an okapi can stand within 30 minutes of birth. Although generally similar to adults, newborn calves have false eyelashes, a long dorsal mane, and long white hairs in the stripes. These features gradually disappear and give way to the general appearance within a year. The juveniles are kept in hiding, and nursing takes place infrequently. Calves are known not to defecate for the first month or two of life, which is hypothesized to help avoid predator detection in their most vulnerable phase of life. The growth rate of calves is appreciably high in the first few months of birth, after which it gradually declines.
Juveniles start taking solid food from three months, and weaning takes place at six months. Horn development in males takes one year after birth. The okapi's typical lifespan is 20 to 30 years.
- October 18th is World Okapi Day.
- Okapi used to be classified as a UMA until it was officially discovered.
- The okapi was known to the ancient Egyptians. Shortly after its discovery by Europeans, an ancient carved image of the animal was discovered in Egypt.
- For years, Europeans in Africa had heard of an animal that they came to call ‘the African unicorn’.