Giraffes’ Cousins: Okapi

giraffe-tongueHey all! I hope this weekend was a wonderful one. Over the weekend, I had a friend tease me about my obsession for giraffes and it got me pondering on the idea that if more people knew more about giraffes, it would maybe be their favorite animal as well! J For starters, look at the picture and admire how cute giraffes are! It’s alright, it was hard for me not to notice their peculiar tongue either! Their tongues can range from a length of 18-20 inches long, isn’t that outrageous?  The picture of this giraffe’s tongue looks black but it often ranges from purple and/or black which then gradients to a pinkish color at the end. Not only are the tongues colorful, but they also have something called “papillae” that helps protect them from the thorns whilst delightfully munching on leaves!

Although a giraffe’s tongue is different from those of humans, their necks are okapisimilar in certain ways. Yes I said neck, hard to believe right? It is much longer but they have the seven cervical vertebrae, just like we. It is more extensive because their vertebrae’s are 10 inches long and they use it as a defense mechanism. Another cool fact about giraffes is that they normally sleep standing up because if they are resting on their back, it allows exposure to vulnerability for predators! Giraffes are one of the most interesting animals to me, and are closely related to another wicked exotic, and rare animal called the okapi! They both share distinctive features such as horns, teeth, tongue, and fur. Giraffe’s have spots along their fur, whereas okapi’s are primarily a dark brown with zebra striped legs (image below). Amazing, isn’t it? I hope this increased your interest about giraffes, and even okapis, because they’re both incredibly unique!

-Lisa Bui

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