Secret Congo

Okapia johnstoni

You don’t need to travel all the way to the Congo to see okapi. Kids and adults will love visiting our okapi here in Bristol and learning all about them in our Secret Congo exhibit.

Okapi are elusive forest-dwellers that are only found in parts of the Congo - in fact they were one of the last large land mammals to be discovered!

Okapi have short, dense, velvety fur and striped bottoms with a long neck and a black, elongated prehensile tongue like their closest relative, the giraffe.

The okapi tongue is about 35cm in length and long enough for the okapi to lick their own eyelids as part of their fastidious grooming. The male also has skin-covered horns like a giraffe - however, unlike a giraffe, the neck is much shorter. Okapis stand at about 170cm tall, and while the male weighs about 230kg the female can weigh over 300kg.


Their long necks and flexible tongue allow okapi to feed on tree leaves and buds, which they strip off the branches just like giraffes do.


Okapi are solitary animals and live in large secluded, high canopy forests without too dense foliage.


Okapi are classified as endangered, mainly due to habitat loss and poaching.

You can learn more about the okapi's conservation status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website.

Did you know that you can get up-close to our okapi by doing an okapi experience? Find out more here.
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