Common Name: Okapi

Scientific Name: Okapia johnstoni

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Giraffidae

Genus: Okapia

Species: O. johnstoni

Okapis have reddish dark backs with striking horizontal black stripes on the front and back legs, making them resemble zebras from a distance. These markings are thought to help young follow their mothers through the dense rain forest; they also serve as camouflage. The body shape is similar to that of the giraffe, except that okapis have much shorter necks. Both species have very long (approx. 30 cm or 12 inch), flexible, blue tongues that they use to strip leaves and buds from trees.

 

An okapi can clean its head with its tongue. The tongue of an okapi is long enough for the animal to wash its eyelids and clean its ears (inside and out): it is the only mammal that can lick its own ears. Male okapis have short, skin-covered horns called "ossicones". They have large ears, which help them detect their predator, the leopard.

   

Author: Madison S.

Published: 05/2009

    

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Okapi2.jpg