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Okapi and Giraffe: Giraffidae

Physical Characteristics

Giraffes stand up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) to the top of the head and weigh 460 to 4,250 pounds (210 to 1,930 kilograms). When compared to the long neck (up to 8 feet, or 2.4 meters), the body is short. Legs are long and end in hooves the size of dinner plates. Their tails grow up to 39 inches (1 meter) and have a tassel at the end. Males are usually larger than females.

Eyes are large, and the long tongue (19 inches [45 centimeters]) is black. Both sexes have short horns of about 5 inches (13.5 centimeters) in length, though males' are thicker. Males also have a middle horn and four or more small bumps.

The okapi (oh-KOP-ee) never weighs more than 550 pounds (250 kilograms), and its head is horse-like in shape. Its neck is not as long as the giraffe's. Where the giraffe's coat is various shades of brown with patterns of cream-colored hair, the okapi's coat is dark brown with white stripes on the upper legs, white "socks" on the ankle, and dark rings at the leg joints. Both species walk with their weight supported alternately on their left and right legs, like camels. They use their necks to maintain balance.


Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsOkapi and Giraffe: Giraffidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Giraffe (giraffa Camelopardalis): Species Accounts, Okapi (okapia Johnstoni): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, OKAPIS GIRAFFES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION