Animal Awareness Tip

Maideline Sanchez

Zebra

Zebras are situated in Africa and are notable for their distinctive black and white stripes that are unique to each individual. The white stripes are typically vertical, beginning from the head to the trunk area and lie horizontally on the rear and limbs. They serve as a cue for recognition amongst other zebras and also as camouflage to confuse predators, such as lions.

There are three species of zebras, which include the plains, Grevy, and mountain zebra. Each contain subtle, but different, anatomical features. They are found in a variety of habitats such as savannas, grasslands, woodlands, mountains, and hills.

Mountain and plain zebras are highly social animals in that they gather in groups that contain one stallion, around six mares, and their foals. When predators are nearby, the group of zebras (harems) will huddle together, while the stallion protects the mares with the foals surrounded in the middle. The Grevy’s zebras do not have as strong of a social bond like that of the other two mentioned. While the mother’s stay together with their foals, adult males live alone and will often form their own groups.

Female zebras mature earlier than males and may have their first foal at three years of age, while males begin to breed at five. Shortly after a foal is born, originally with brown and white stripes, they are able to stand and walk. Afterwards, the foals learn to care for themselves and either stay in groups or live on their own.

 Did you know?

Ever wondered if zebras are black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Well, embryological evidence suggests that the main background color of a zebra is in fact black and the white bellies and stripes are white due to the inhibition of pigment after the black fur develops.