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Okapi and Giraffe: Giraffidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Giraffes are social whereas okapis keep to themselves. The home ranges of giraffes are large, while those of the okapi are small. The males of both species will fight other males to establish dominance, usually using their horns by swinging their long necks and butting into each other.

Giraffes are polygynous (puh-LIH-juh-nus; one male to several female mates), as okapi are believed to be. Pregnancy lasts fifteen months for the giraffe and results in the birth of a single calf. Calves nurse (drink mother's milk) for a year and supplement their diet with browse beginning at the age of one month. Females stay with the herd while males leave around the age of three years. Life expectancy is twenty to twenty-five years.

After fourteen to fifteen months of pregnancy, a single okapi calf is born deep in the forest, where it will remain hidden for weeks. It will spend up to 80 percent of its first two months in hiding. Calves nurse until the age of six months and live over thirty years in captivity.

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