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Giraffes and Okapi

Giraffes, The Okapi

Giraffes are a species of large, long-legged, long-necked ungulates in the family Giraffidae, order Artiodactyla. Giraffes are the tallest living animals on Earth. Okapis are a close relative, but these animals do not have such long legs or neck.

The giraffe is a widespread animal of grasslands and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. The okapi is a much rarer animal and occurs in tropical forest.

Both species are exclusively herbivorous, mostly browsing the foliage of woody plants. These animals are ruminants, meaning they have a complex stomach divided into four pouches. Each of these sections is responsible for a particular stage of the digestion process. Rumination actually specifically refers to the chewing of the cud, which is a regurgitated mass of pre-digested plant matter from one of the fore-stomachs. The cud is re-chewed in a leisurely fashion, and then swallowed one last time, to undergo further digestion. The material then passes through the alimentary system, and nutrients are absorbed during this final passage, which is followed by defecation.

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