Zebras Facts About These Striped Wild Equines

Updated July 18, 2010

Are Zebras white with black stripes, or black with white stripes? The answer is quite simple, although their white bellies may make people think they are white with black stripes, the fact is their skin is black, so zebras are black animals – with white stripes.

Zebras live in Africa but are also in zoos throughout the world.

There are three species of Zebra, The Plains Zebra, Grevy's Zebra, and the Mountain Zebra.

The Plains Zebra (also called the Grants Zebra, or the Common Zebra) is listed as Endangered and has been hunted for its meat and its hide. It also is suffering from loss of habitat. Plains Zebras often form herds with Wildebeests or Antelopes. They reside throughout Kenya and down through South Africa. Plains Zebras typically live in herds of several mares, their young foals, and one stallion.

plains zebra

Grevy's Zebras are also listed as Endangered, having been hunted for their hide, with an estimated 17,000 living in the wild. They are often said to look more like an Ass than the other two species, its head being longer and more narrow, even their behavior is more donkey like. They are taller, have narrower stripes, and larger ears. They currently only live in Kenya and a small pocket in Ethiopia.

grevyis zebra

Photo source

Mountain Zebras are distinguished by their dewlap and whiter underbelly. Their conservation status is listed as Vulnerable. They reside in Angola, and South Africa. They live in small groups of a stallion with one or two mares and do not form herds with other animals such as Wildebeests. Mountain Zebras have larger ears than Plains Zebras.

mountain zebra

Photo Source

The Quagga is an extinct subspecies of Plains Zebra, and was hunted to extinction by humans.

The Cape Zebra is a subspecies of Mountain Zebra with only 800 surviving animals.

Plains Zebras and Mountain Zebras often co-exist, however they do not naturally inter-breed.

Zebras belong to the family Equus, and have successfully be breed to both horses, and donkeys.

Each individual Zebra will have its own unique pattern.

Their pattern is an evolutionary success story for confusing predators who may have a harder time picking out one individual from the herd. It also acts as camouflage when in treed areas.

Photo Source

Zebras, and particularly the Grevy's Zebra, have been known to dig water holes and defend them.

Their diet is mostly of grasses however they will eat leaves and brush.

Like other equines, Zebras cannot vomit.

Major predators of Zebras are Lions, Spotted Hyenas, Crocodiles (who grab their noses and pull them into the water at drinking spots and when crossing rivers), and humans. Leopards and Cheetahs will prey on foals.

When threatened Zebras bunch together and often run. The stallion may try to defend against predators by kicking and biting. If one zebra can be singled out of the herd it will have to fight for its own survival.

zebra bum

Photo from Photos8.com

Gestation is roughly 1 year, this being longer than the gestation of horses. Foals will nurse for nearly a year, when the next foal is born the yearling males often leave the herd. The yearling females may stay or may be taken by other stallions.

As with wild horses, males who do not have herds of females often form bachelor herds for companionship and safety.

The survival rate of foals is about 50% with predators taking the rest.

Zebras have a lifespan of roughly 20 years.

Although Zebras are not considered domestic animals and are generally regarded as untrainable, there have been cases of Zebras that have been trained for riding or driving. Generally the problem lies with the fact they can be unpredictable and if startled they tend to run.

trained zebra team

Photo Source

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