I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.
Here are my past posts in case you missed them:
This post is a little different in the fact that a Facebook friend said I should write about the Okapi way back when we first started this series (sure wish I could remember who it was!). So anyway, this post is “dedicated” to them! And, if you are like me, you are wondering what exactly a ‘Okapi’ is…well…let’s find out!
The Okapi has a red-brown colored coat of fur with horizontal, white striped markings that are found on their hind quarters and at the tops of their legs. They have a long head and dark muzzle with large set-back ears. It has an impressively long tongue, which is not only black in color but is also prehensile (meaning that it is able to grab hold of things). They are one of the few mammals that can lick their ears!
They are found in the tropical mountain forest of central Africa. Even though they look a little similar to a deer, they are actually an ancestor of the giraffe! They are about eight feet long and about six feet tall. Their weight is around 500 pounds.
They are herbivores. They eat leaves, shoots and twigs that are drawn into their mouths using their long prehensile tongue along with fruits, berries and other plant parts. The Okapi will even eat fungi on occasion and is known to eat more than 100 different types of plant, many of which are poisonous to other animals and humans. Along with consuming a vast variety of plant material, the Okapi is also known to eat a reddish clay that provides essential salt and minerals to it’s plant-based diet. The Okapi spends a great deal of the daylight hours in search of food and walks quietly along well-trodden paths that it uses regularly to ensure an easier escape from predators.
They are most active during the day and are mostly a solitary (meaning alone) animal.
They are very shy and are rarely seen by humans in their natural habitat – but they are not considered endangered. Because they are so shy and secretive, the Okapi was not classified as a distinct species until 1900, when Harry Johnston sent two pieces of Zebra-like skin to London which was analysed and meant that a new species was recorded.
Okapis are known to communicate with one another using quiet “chuff” sounds and rely heavily on their hearing in the surrounding forest where they are not able to see very far at all.
They have a gestation period of approximately 16 months and then mom gives birth to one calf. Like most other hoofed animals, it can get up and walk very quickly. Mom and baby will then “go off into the woods” for about two months allowing the baby safety in the brush while learning additional skills to survive. Most calves are weaned around six months of age.
Average life span is 20 – 30 years.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter P and learn about the Porcupine.
Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!
Enjoy the journey!