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The Mixed-up Okapi



The Mixed-up Okapi
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.91

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cloven, pygmies, rump, finding, poachers, herbivore, ever, perfectly, bold, ideal, oily, touch, mammal, antelope, such, stays
     content words:    Ituri Rainforest


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The Mixed-up Okapi
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Ever try to touch your nose with your tongue? That's nothing! The okapi (pronounced o-CAP-ee) is one of very few mammals that can touch its ears with its long tongue. Not only that, it can lick its own eyelids! The okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe. It looks a little like its relative, but the rest of the okapi's body makes it look as if it were made from the spare parts of other animals.
 
2     Standing about six feet tall, the okapi has the small horns and body shape of the giraffe, although its neck is shorter. The body is sloped, with the front higher than the rump. It looks like it got its ears from a donkey, the stripes on its rump and legs from a zebra, and its cloven hooves from an antelope. Its body is a dark reddish-brown while its legs are white and black.
 
3     Until 1900, no one outside the African jungle had ever seen an okapi. Only pygmies and other jungle natives knew this strange creature. Even after the okapi was discovered by visitors from the outside world, many people still could not believe that such an odd-looking animal really existed. It was the last large mammal to be discovered.

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