Friday, March 8, 2013

Camera Critters: Okapi

I've previously shared with you the beautiful Okapi at the Houston Zoo.
Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Kwame in a behind the scenes tour.

The Okapi has always been my favorite animal at the zoo.

It is a beautiful and unusual looking animal.
Shy, graceful, magical!


With the stripes (great camouflage) the Okapi looks like he might be related to the zebra.
Looking at his face, you can see the resemblance to the giraffe and indeed,
the Okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe.
Like the giraffe, the Okapi has big ears (better to hear you coming) and a long dark prehensile tongue.
The tongue feels like sandpaper -- great for stripping leaves from trees,
not so great for kissing humans!
The tongue is long enough to clean his eyelids and ears!
Only the males have the horns (ossicones).

They are a solitary and shy animal.
Their home is the dense Ituri Rainforest in the Congo.
Their fur feels like velvet and is also quite oily providing them with a natural raincoat.
Petting an Okapi will turn your hand red from the oil on the coat.

They are a threatened animal and I can't imagine Mother Earth without this gorgeous creature.

Okapi Collage

Thank you to Misty for hosting Camera Critters.

Camera Critters

Wishing YOU well, much joy and a magical weekend!


Deb said...

Very beautiful and gentle looking.

Sherry said...

What a combination...relative of the giraffe but looks like a zebra in part. I think it's interesting that your hand comes away red after petting this beautiful animal...and the sandpaper tongue not being so good for kissing humans? I think I dated a guy like that once!! lol!! Have a good weekend!

Vee said...

Gorgeous creature and what interesting details about him.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Very cool animal! I've never seen one in real life.

Pam said...

They are so unusual!

Janet said...

What a beautiful animal...and one I was not familiar with. You always give me something new to think about.

Anonymous said...

They are beautiful! How exciting to get to meet them up close and personal.

Raindrops and Daisies said...

Good evening Snap
hello from a wet and gloomy Ireland.

What a beautiful animal
and fur like velvet...

Great photos thanks for sharing


ps have a good weekend.

Ruth Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing. I have never seen one of these animals before.

Corrine at said...

So sweet Snap. I have always loved their gentle faces. Lucky you getting to see them. xox

Phil said...

A beautiful animal indeed. It must be hard to spot in its natural habitat with such an appearance. Thanks for the information and the pictures. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

glaube gesehen habe ich in Wirklichkeit noch nie ein Okapi

Danke für die schönen Bilder
mit einem LG vom katerchen

DeniseinVA said...

Great post! I have seen them at the zoo and think they are marvelous animals. Your photos captured him beautifully.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen one, myself, but, my goodness, it's beautiful! The markings are so neat & sooo smooth looking! =)

TexWisGirl said...

really amazing animals. like parts from several. :)

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely looking creature.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful shots of this beautiful animal!

Pia said...

Lucky you to have a behind the scene tour at the zoo!
The Okapi is a very special looking animal. Great photos!

Dianne said...

I had never seen one before
thanks for these wonderful photos!

Hanne Bente said...

Nice pictures you show. Thanks for the comment on my blog :)

Deborah said...

Beautiful in such a unique way. I love watching animal/nature shows. But no snakes. Or bugs. **kisses** Deb

Lina Gustina said...

Amazing critter indeed. His parents are zebra and giraffe :)
Thanks for dropping by!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful critter. I love his stripes.

SavannahGranny said...

I have never heard of or seen this animal. That said, I am now hopelessly in love with him. I think he is awesome and it breaks my heart that he is endangered.
Thanks for exposing me to something new and beautiful. Ginger

Mary said...

What a beautiful animal Snap~ I have never heard of one, much less seen one! Love the stripes :)