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Zebra Gifts

There are three species of zebra: the Plains Zebra, Grévy's Zebra and the Mountain Zebra.

Zebras are African equids best known for their distinctive white and black stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns unique to each individual. They are generally social animals and can be seen in small harems to large herds. In addition to their stripes, zebras have erect, mohawk-like manes. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated.

The Species of Zebras

The zebra is a type of animal best known for its characteristic black and white stripes. It is closely related to the horse and the donkey, but unlike its cousins, is not well-suited to domestication, being capricious and sometimes aggressive. There are three species of zebra: the plains zebra, the mountain zebra, and Grevy's zebra. Between these three species, there are a total of seven extant subspecies of zebra.

Plains Zebra

The plains zebra is the most widely spread species of zebra, having numerous subspecies and being found throughout southern and eastern Africa. Its fragmented range begins south of the Sahara in South Sudan and extends to the south and the east into Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, after which it enters most countries to the south. The plains zebra has become extinct in Burundi and Lesotho. It is nomadic and non-territorial, with proximity to water being a high priority, as it depends on water.

Because of its large range and population, the plains zebra is known as the common zebra. It is also known as Burchell's zebra, even though Burchell's zebra is technically a subspecies of the plains zebra.

On average, the plains zebra is the smallest species of zebra, with adults' measuring about six and a half to eight feet in length, excluding a 20 inch-long tail, and about three and a half to five feet in height at the shoulders. The plains zebra can weigh between 385 and 850 pounds.

The plains zebra is a very social animal, living in small, stable family groups containing one male, a number of females, and their young offspring. Males without mates form small bachelor groups. Unique to the plains zebra is the tendency of its family or bachelor groups to form herds, and for two individual groups to form a subgroup within a herd.

Mountain Zebra

The mountain zebra is a species of zebra found mostly in hot, dry, mountainous terrain. There are two subspecies of mountain zebra, one of which, Hartmann's zebra, inhabits a fragmented range near the southwest coast of Africa, and the other of which, the Cape zebra, occupies a fragmented range towards the southernmost regions of Africa.

The mountain zebra is a threatened species, being considered vulnerable by the IUCN. It is threatened most profoundly by habitat loss and hunting.

A fully grown mountain zebra typically measures between about three and a half and five feet in height and between about seven and nine feet in length, excepting a tail measuring 16 to 22 inches in length. An average adult mountain zebra weighs 450 to 820 pounds.

Not unlike the plains zebra, the mountain zebra lives in small family groups containing one male, between one and five females, and their young offspring. Males that do not have mates live in separate groups, and older such males may attempt to remove females from their family groups in order to establish their own family group.

Grevy's Zebra

Grevy’s zebra is the most endangered species of zebra, being considered endangered by the IUCN. Grvy's zebra, named for a former French president, can be found predominantly in northern Kenya, as well as in parts of Ethiopia and possibly South Sudan. It has become extinct in Somalia and Djibouti. Grevy's zebra inhabits barren terrains and bushlands, needing some water but not depending on it like the plains zebra does.

Grevy's zebra is the sole member of the taxonomic subgenus dolichohippus, unlike its cousin species, which share the subgenus hippotigris. There are no subspecies of Grevy's zebra.

As the largest species of zebra, an adult Grevy's zebra measures about eight to ten feet in length, excluding a 15 to 30 inch-long tail, and about five feet in height at the shoulders. It can weigh between 770 and 990 pounds. Grevy's zebra is notable for its distinctly mule-like features, which set it apart from the other two species of zebra.

The social groups of Grevy's zebra are loose, fluid, and non-hierarchical. Adult male Grevy's zebras occupy and defend their own territories, while females and immature males travel within large home ranges that may overlap with males' territories. When other males enter a territorial male's range, the territorial male accepts their presence and may even seek other stallions' company, except when a female receptive to mating is in his territory. Outside a territory, several males may compete for a female.

Zebra Gifts




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