What is an Okapi?

Okapia Johnstoni, or simply Okapi, is a mammal seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. It was only discovered in 1901 in the Ituri Rainforest. Its outward appearance can make you think it is a kind of zebra because of its striking stripes, but the Okapi is related to the giraffe. Okapi and giraffe both belong to the Giraffidae family.

The Okapi measures 8.1 feet long and 6.5 feet high at the shoulder. An Okapi’s tail measures about 17 inches long. An Okapi's weight is somewhere between 200 to 250 kilograms. This mammal's coat is velvety. Its color is either purplish red or chestnut-brown. It has horizontal stripes on its upper legs, which, according to the experts, are the marks that help young Okapi in distinguishing and following their mothers as they walk around the rainforest. Okapis also have remarkably large ears. These make detecting predators easier for them. Their tongue is in shade of black or blue and it is long and grasping.  

The Okapi's diet includes leaves, grass, ferns, fungi, buds, and fruits. However, most of the plants that Okapi loves to eat are poisonous to human beings. Based on examinations of their faeces, Okapi also consumes the charcoal derived from burnt trees caused by lightning.

Okapis are extremely active animals. They want things done unaccompanied. They use distinct methods to convey their territory. Through their scent glands, which are located on each of their feet, a substance is excreted and it tells the other creatures that they are in the area.