The okapi is the only species of forest ungulate to depend on understory foliage and feeds on more than 100 species of vegetation, many of which are poisonous to humans.

The okapi is a mainly diurnal species that forages along fixed, well-trodden paths through the forest, but has also been recorded feeding at night.

Okapi are unique in being the only species of forest ungulate to depend on understory foliage. They feed primarily on the leaves, buds, grasses, fruits, ferns, fungi, and shoots of more than 100 different species of forest vegetation. Many of the plant species fed upon by the okapi are known to be poisonous to humans.

Examination of okapi feces has revealed that the charcoal from trees burnt by lightning is consumed as well. Field observations indicate that the okapi’s mineral and salt requirements are filled primarily by a sulfurous, slightly salty, reddish clay found near rivers and streams.

Sources: (Bodmer & Rabb, 1992; Grzimek, 1990; Mallon, et al., 2015; Palkovacs, 2000; San Diego Zoo Global, 2017)
Image: David Ellis


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