All About the Zebra

The zebra is an equid and member of the horse family, but it’s quite different from its relatives.

This animal features exceptional eyesight and hearing. They also move up to 35 miles per hour.

What You Should Know

Zebras live in different habitats, depending on what type it is. Grevy’s zebras live in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia among the semi-arid grassland. The mountain zebra lives in Namibia and Angola among the arid, rocky slopes. Plains zebras are the most abundant. They live in Eastern to Southern Africa among the grasslands.

All zebras are herbivores. They feed on grass, bushes, stems, and leaves. They spend hours each day eating and utilize their front teeth to clip off tough stems. When the dry season arrives, the zebra has to travel to find water and food.

What Sound Do They Make?

The zebra communicates with other animals using a variety of sounds and facial expressions. They produce a loud braying, barking sounds and snorts.

Group Characteristics

A zebra foal is born following the 11 to 12 month gestation period. It will stand right after birth and walk within 15 minutes. After an hour, it can run. The newborn comes into the world with a mane reaching down the back to the tail. It is white, black and brown. It takes four months until the zebra starts to change colors. About half of zebras die as infants because of the spotted hyena or lion.

How Many are There?

The IUCN lists the Plains Zebra as Near Threatened. Currently, there are only 150,000-250,000 left in the wild. Some of the major threats include disease, poaching and the loss of habitat. There are only approximately 25,000 Mountain Zebra remaining and they are classified as Threatened.

Pop Culture

The zebra isn’t as well known in popular culture as the horse, but it still plays a valuable role in TV and movies. While it’s often used as a miscellaneous character, there are some instances where it took the lead. In movies such as Khumba, Racing Stripes, and Madagascar, the lead was a zebra. Zecora, is also a recurring character in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

In the movie Fantasia, we see two centaurs being depicted as half zebra and half-human. Typically, this creature would be half-horse and half-human.

Another common place to find the zebra is as a mascot. Some of the most notable include Fruit Stripe gum and Zebra Technologies. The Botswana coat of arms also features the zebra.

Sports teams aren’t afraid to use the zebra as the official’s nickname, especially because their striped uniforms reflect the animal’s style. You will find this outfit used in ice hockey, basketball, and American football.

Interesting Facts

TU-103 is a strain of Clostridium bacteria found in zebra feces. Scientists found that this can be converted into cellulose and used for butanol fuel.

African folk tales talk about zebras. They have stories about how the animal got its stripes. Namibia tales say the zebra was all white but received its lines after a fight in a waterhole with a baboon. It kicked the baboon so hard that it lost its balance and fell over a fire. The fire sticks scorched marks on the white coat.

Zebras have been a common focal point in art. The stripes are also commonly used for carpets, fashion, and furniture.