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okapi(ōkăp`ē), nocturnal ruminant mammal, Okapia johnstoni, of the giraffegiraffe,
African ruminant mammal, genus Giraffa, living in open savanna S of the Sahara. Giraffes have historically been considered to be one species, G. camelopardalis,
..... Click the link for more information. family. It inhabits the almost sunless rain forests of the upper Congo and feeds on leaves. Its shape is reminiscent of a giraffe's, but it is smaller, with a much shorter neck. It is deep reddish brown with black and white zebra-striped legs. Its head is giraffelike and in the male bears blunt skin-covered, hornlike ossicones that are made of ossified cartilage. The okapi was unknown to zoologists until the beginning of the 20th cent. It is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Giraffidae.
(Okapia johnstoni), an artiodactyl mammal of the family Giraffidae; the sole species of the genus Okapia. The okapi is smaller than the giraffe. The body length is about 2 m, the shoulder height is up to 1.5 m, and the weight is approximately 250 kg. The neck and legs are not as long as those of the giraffe, and the shoulders are higher than the sacrum. The animal has an elongated snout and large ears. There are two small horns on the forehead, which annually have new tips. The tongue is very long and mobile. The short, slender tail is tufted terminally. The coloration varies: the head is light with dark markings, the body is grayish brown, and the rump and limbs are transversely barred with white and dark stripes. The okapi is rare, inhabiting the tropical rain forests of the Congo Basin in Africa. It lives singly or in pairs and feeds primarily on leaves. The gestation period is about 440 days.