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Okapi and Giraffe: Giraffidae


Giraffes are browsers (eaters of shrubs, trees, and herbs) that eat mostly deciduous foliage in the rains and evergreen species during other seasons. They also eat fruit and grass now and then, and will drink water if available, but most of it comes through the plants they eat. Okapis eat buds, leaves, and branches as well as clay high in sulfur (to supplement their mineral intake).


  • Giraffes breathe twenty times a minute.
  • Giraffes can run up to 35 miles per hour (60 kilometers per hour).
  • Okapis weren't discovered until 1900.
  • Female giraffes will return to the same site year after year to give birth.
  • Newborn giraffes grow as much as an inch each day.
  • The okapi is the only mammal that can clean its ears with its tongue.
  • Because it takes a giraffe a long time to stand from the lying-down position, these animals will sleep using the buddy system: the herd sleeps while a designated individual keeps watch.
  • The hind legs of the okapi have the same striped pattern and coloring as the zebra.
  • Giraffes love the thorny acacia (uh-KAY-shah) tree and are able to eat it by closing their nostrils and producing a great deal of spit to help swallow the thorns. Their lips are protected by thick hair.
  • Okapis find breeding partners by sense of smell.
  • The okapi was first thought to be related to the zebra.

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