An okapi calf will spend 80% of its first 2 months hiding motionless and alone in a nest, infrequently nursing, in order to remain undetected by predators.

After birth, an okapi calf will find a suitable hiding spot and make a nest for itself. For the next two months, the calf will spend 80% of its time alone in this nest. The mother will leave the infant alone for extended periods of time, however, when threatened, a disturbed calf will lie motionless in its nest while the mother okapi will aggressively rush to defend her calf from danger.

Hiding behavior appears to promote rapid growth and provides protection from predators. During the hiding stage, young nurse relatively infrequently and do not defecate. These strategies help keep them undetected by predators.

Sources: (Bodmer & Rabb, 1992; Palkovacs, 2000; San Diego Zoo Global, 2017)
Image: Toshihiro Gamo


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