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Zebra

A close-up of a Zebra.Grevys Zebra from Aalborg Zoo, DenmarkA Zebra at Colchester Zoo, UK.Mountain zebra - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, Florida, USAA Plains Zebra in TanzaniaCommon Zebra, NamibiaFemale Grevyis Zebra (Equus grevyi) in KenyaA Zebra (Equus Zebra, Equus Quagga, Equus Grevyi) at Colchester Zoo, UK.A Zebra at Colchester Zoo, UK.
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Zebra Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Mammalia
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Perissodactyla
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Equidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Equus
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Equus zebra, Equus quagga, Equus grevyi
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species
Zebra
Other Name(s):Mountain Zebra, Common Zebra, Plains Zebra, Burchells Zebra, Grevys Zebra
Group:
The domestic group such as cat or dog
Mammal
Number Of Species:3
Location:Eastern and Southern Africa
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Open grassland and plains
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, White, Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Hair
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
2m - 2.75m (6.6ft - 9ft)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
220kg - 405kg (485lbs - 893lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
40kph (25mph)
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Herbivore
Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Grasses, Leaves, Buds
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Lions, Leopards, Hyenas
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Diurnal
Group Behaviour:Herd
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for
20 - 30 years
Age Of Sexual Maturity:3 - 4 years
Gestation Period:10 - 12 months
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
1
Name Of Young:Foal
Age Of Weaning:11 months
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Endangered
Estimated Population Size:Declining
Biggest Threat:Habitat loss
Most Distinctive Feature:Long, slender legs and one toe on each foot
Fun Fact:Stripe patterns are unique to each individual!

Zebra Location

Map of Zebra Locations
Map of Africa

Zebra

Zebra Classification and Evolution
The Zebra is a large species of equine that is natively found roaming the grassy plains of sub-Saharan Africa. They are the largest and most distinctive wild horses with bodies that are patterned with white and black stripes, the exact placement of which is unique to each individual. There are three different species of Zebra that are found in Africa which are the Common Zebra (also known as the Plains Zebra and the Burchell's Zebra), the Grevy's Zebra (also known as the Imperial Zebra) and the Mountain Zebra. They are incredibly sociable animals that can travel vast distances in search of fresh grass and water but are severely threatened throughout much of their natural range due to increasing levels of human activity. Today, both the Grevy's Zebra and the Mountain Zebra are considered to be endangered species and although the Common Zebra is more widespread and numerous, there have been sharp population declines in certain areas.

Zebra Anatomy and Appearance
Zebras are heavy bodied animals that are perfectly designed for speed with their long and slender legs and narrow hooves helping them to reach speeds of 40kph when running. In the same way as horses, they only have a single toe on each foot which they walk on the tip of and is protected by their tough hooves. Their black and white stripes are unique to each individual and help them to identify each other when in the herd. Zebras have long necks and heads that mean they can easily reach the grass on the ground and a mane that extends from their forehead and along their back to the tail. The pattern of their stripes varies between the species with Grevy's and Mountain Zebras having narrower stripes and white undersides, while the Common Zebra has broad stripes that cover its entire body. The Grevy's Zebra is not only the largest of the Zebra species but is also easily identifiable by its large, rounded ears.

Zebra Distribution and Habitat
Zebras are found inhabiting the open grasslands and plains of East and Southern Africa where they spend almost of their time grazing on the grasses. The Common Zebra is the most numerous and has the widest natural range throughout East Africa where they are found roaming the grassy plains. The Mountain Zebra can be found grazing on the mountain grasslands of South-West Africa, while the Grevy's Zebra is confined to the arid grasslands and sub-desert steppe throughout Ethiopia, Somalia and in northern Kenya. Zebras have evolved to run incredibly fast so they are able to escape from dangerous predators and so rely heavily on the open plains for their survival. Although the Common Zebra has been least affected, all three species are at risk from population declines due to the loss of their natural habitats caused by by increasing levels of human activity.

Zebra Behaviour and Lifestyle
Zebras are highly sociable animals that roam the savanna in herds for protection from predators. The Grevy's Zebra occupies herds more loosely than the other species with a stallion (male) patrolling enormous territories of up to 10 square kilometres, with mares (females) and their foals grazing freely and occasionally forming small groups that feed together. Both the Common Zebra and the Mountain Zebra inhabit their native regions in long-term herds that split into smaller family groups which are led by a dominant stallion and contain between one and six mares with their young. Their strong social bonds can make them very affectionate towards one another, often grooming each other using their teeth. During the mating season, males will fight fiercely for the right to breed with the females and do so by rearing up on their back legs whilst kicking and biting one another.

Zebra Reproduction and Life Cycles
The Zebra is a relatively slow-developing mammal with females not being able to first breed until they are at least a few years old. After a gestation period that can last for between 10 months and a year, the female gives birth to a single foal that is born with its stripes, mane and also has a little patch of hair in the middle of its tummy. Zebra foals are able to stand within minutes of birth which is vital to ensure that they are able to run away to escape from predators. They are able to begin eating grass after a week and are weaned by the time they are 11 months old. Young Zebras remain with their mother until they are mature at around three years old when the males leave their natal herd to join an all-male bachelor group, while females stay with their mother. These bachelor groups begin to challenge the dominant stallions to try and take over the harem during the mating season.

Zebra Diet and Prey
The Zebra is a herbivorous animal meaning that it only eats plant-matter in order to gain the nutrition that it needs to survive. The majority of the Zebra's diet (in fact around 90%) is comprised of a wide variety of different grasses with other plant matter including leaves and buds making up the rest. They use their sharp front teeth to nibble on the tough ends of grasses before grinding them up using the flat molars along its cheeks. Due to the fact that grass has little nutritional value, Zebras must spend between 60% and 80% of the day grazing. Common Zebras are often seen drinking at water holes which they do every day but, due to the fact that the Grevy's Zebra and the Mountain Zebra inhabit drier, more arid regions, they often don't drink for several days at a time. In the dry season Zebras can travel vast distances in search of fresh grass and water holes that haven't yet dried up, with the Grevy's Zebra also known to dig into the ground of dried up river beds to access the water underground.

Zebra Predators and Threats
The Zebra is a large and powerful animal that despite being herbivorous can easily outrun many of its predators. Zebras are preyed upon by Lions, Leopards, Hyenas and African Wild Dogs, along with numerous other large carnivores such as Crocodiles when they are crossing rivers or drinking. Although their first instinct is to run away, Zebras are sometimes known to attack the animal that is threatening it by kicking and biting. However, when danger is spotted, Zebras alert one another of the threat and by running away from their predator as a tight herd, they often either confuse or simply intimidate their attacker. The biggest threat though to Africa's remaining Zebra populations is the increasing encroachment on their natural habitats by people, with the loss of their open plains to grazing for livestock and to clear land for agriculture.

Zebra Interesting Facts and Features
The stripes of the Zebra remain a slight mystery to science even today as they were once thought to camouflage them into the natural light and shade of their surroundings to confuse predators, as once running as a herd, it is extremely difficult to remain focused on a single animal. The formation of the stripes on their rear end of the Zebra differs greatly between the three species with Common Zebras having horizontal stripes on its haunches where those of the Grevy's Zebra curve upwards. These patterns on their rear ends are thought to differ so greatly so that members of the same herd are able to easily identify the individual at the front of the pack when running. As with other male horses, Zebra stallions are known to curl their top lips up which is thought to heighten their sense of smell. This so-called "horse laugh" is thought to prove vital for the male to be able to detect when a female is ready to mate.

Zebra Relationship with Humans
Due to the free-roaming nature of Zebras and over vast distances, the increasing human presence throughout the world has meant that Zebras have been affected by the loss of their habitats throughout much of the natural range. However, one of the most intriguing things about Zebras to people is that because they are so closely related to other equines including Horses and Donkeys, Zebras has actually been able to breed with them to produce a hybrid foal, known as a Zonkey (Zebras and Donkeys) or as a Zorse (Zebras and Horses). Although it is not thought that the two species would naturally be able to mate in the wild due to geographical differences, a number of both Zonkey and Zorse individuals now exist around the world. Zebras are thought to have natural protection to certain parasites which has led people to breed Horses and Donkeys with Zebras to produce an animal that has the character and size of a Horse or Donkey but with the power and resilience of a Zebra. As with other cross-breed offspring though, Zonkeys and Zorses are infertile and so are unable to reproduce themselves.

Zebra Conservation Status and Life Today
Today, two out of the three Zebras species are listed by the IUCN as animals that are Endangered and therefore face extinction from their natural habitats in the future. The Grevy's Zebra and the Mountain Zebra are found in increasingly isolated regions and their numbers continue to fall throughout their natural ranges. The Common Zebra is an animal that is listed as being Near Threatened by extinction in the wild and although they are still widespread and numbers appear to be relatively stable, they like the other species, are threatened by habitat loss throughout much of their natural range.

Zebra Translations

български език
Планинска зебра
Dansk
Almindelig zebra
Deutsch
Grevyzebra
English
Grevys Zebra
Español
Cebra de Grevy
Suomi
Grevynseepra
Italiano
Equus quagga
Nederlands
Steppezebra
Polski
Zebra stepowa
Português
Zebra-de-Grévy
Türkçe
Grevy zebrası
Bahasa Melayu
Kuda belang
Català
Zebra comuna
Cesky
Zebra stepní
Français
Equus quagga
Hrvatski
Stepska zebra
עִבְרִית
זברה מצויה
Svenska
Stäppzebra
Tiếng Việt
Ngựa vằn đồng bằng
中文
平原斑馬
Esperanto
Grevi-zebro
日本語
グレビーシマウマ

Zebra Comments

dude
"zebras are the best! Thanks for giving me information for my animal research project! thanks"
Anonymous
"I love zebras I love this site to thank you"
Tyler
"Wonderful"
Isabel Suseno
"I love it!!!! You should do more websites!"
rachael
"this is a great website it has given me a lot of information for what i need to do. I used this website for a science project on classification and it helped so much."
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First Published: 5th December 2008, Last Updated: 22nd February 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. About Mountain Zebras (Date Unknown) Available at: [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
2. Common Zebra Information (Date Unknown) Available at: [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
3. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
4. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
5. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
7. Grevy'a Zebra Conservation (Date Unknown) Available at: [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
8. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
9. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]

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