A Plains zebra is in the equine family however their behavior is very different than the domestic horse. They are agile and very athletic. Their primary means of defense is running away but they can be formidable fighters with very strong kicks and vicious bites.
Zebra stripes are developed in the womb by the 8th day of egg fertilization and are as unique as human fingerprints. Zebras are herd animals and travel in harems lead by one stallion and 15 to 20 members. During annual migrations large herds of Zebra can form. These herds usually are the first to enter new grazing pastures, particularly wetlands. They trample down the long vegetation so the gazelle and wildebeest can follow.The plains zebra spans much of southern and eastern Africa. Its habitat is generally grasslands and savanna woodlands, both tropical and temperate.
Other Spieces of Zebra
Grevy’s zebra is larger than Gant’s, weighing between 770 and 990 pounds compared to 500 to 650 pounds for a Grant’s zebra. Two features distinguish it from the other zebra species: it has a longer mane and larger ears. The Grevy is only about 5 inches taller than Grant’s zebra but are have a heavier build. Grevy’s zebra are found mostly in northern Kenya, but in substantially reduced numbers. There are only around 2,500 Grevy’s in Africa compared to 15,000 just a few decades ago.
The Mountain Zebra
The mountain zebra has two subspecies: Hartmann’s and the Cape mountain zebra. These species mostly live in southern Africa, particularly Namibia and western South Africa. Compared to Grant’s and Grevy’s zebra, this species prefers mountainous areas. His stripes are thinner and more numerous than those of the Grant’s zebra, and he has broad stripes on his rump that distinguish him from the other two species. He also has a fold of skin on his throat, called a dewlap, that other zebras don’t have. Both subspecies are classified as endangered. In the past hunting decimated herds, but land cultivation now is a bigger threat.
Zebras feed almost entirely on grasses but may occasionally eat shrubs, herbs, twigs, leaves and bark.
Size: 4.2 – 4.9 feet height Weight: 500-650 pounds Lifespan: 20 to 25 years