Latin name: Equus burchellii
Lifespan: Both the males and the females live up to
35 years of age.
Weight: 300 to 320 kg for both sexes.
Sexual differentiation: The male and female are similar
in size. The maleâ€™s genitals are not always visible,
making it very difficult to see the difference. One
clear difference is the black vertical stripe between
the buttocks. The male has a very narrow stripe about
1 inch wide and the female has a stripe about 2 or 3
The collective name used for a group of zebras is called
a dazzle. There are two different groupings that zebra
live in. The first is the harem. A harem consists of
1 dominant male, 5 or 10, sometimes more females and
The second social grouping is the bachelor herd which
varies in size from 3 individuals and up. The bachelor
herd consists of only males which often follow the different
harems around at a safe distance. Males will occasionally
leave their bachelor herds to join up with the harem
to challenge the dominant male for his females.
Fighting between the males involves a lot of kicking
and biting until the one or the other gives up. Once
the previous male is forced out the new dominant male
will often kill all young foals that are still dependant
on their motherâ€™s milk by kicking and biting them
The reason for the male doing this is that the females
that are still suckling young will not be on, but soon
after losing its youngster will be ready to mate with.
After a successful mating the female is pregnant for
12 months. After giving birth the newborn foal will
be dependent on its mother's milk for almost 1 year
before totally weaning.
The females can give birth at any time of the year.
Zebras are grazers, often feedings along with wildebeest.
Wildebeest prefer to feed of the shorter grasses whereas
zebra prefer the longer grasses. After the zebra has
chewed off the long grass tufts, the wildebeest will
often follow after the zebra to chew off the shorter
tufts left behind.
Many other herbivores such as giraffe, impala and even
warthog can be seen feeding close to zebra. Besides
also feeding off grass, this may be a form of safety
as zebra have a very keen sense of smell, hearing, sight
and are extremely alert of their surroundings which
makes it rather difficult for predators to get close
to them without been seen.
The more other animals there are, the safer it is for
zebra as there is a lesser chance of a predator picking
them out in a hunt.
The zebra's closest relative:
Besides horses being direct relatives of zebra, the
next close relative strange enough is the rhino. They
have the same dentitional formula, a similar bone structure
and at one stage in their lives had similar shaped feet,
the rhino having more horse-like shaped feet.
It is rather difficult to see if a zebra is in a good
condition or not as they always have round bellies as
a result of all the gasses bloating their stomachs.
When there is a shortage of grass or even a drought,
zebra still look well fed with their large gas-filled
A clear sign of bad health is to look at the mane-hair
on the zebra's neck. If the mane-hair is stiff and upright,
then the zebra is generally in good condition. If the
mane-hair flops, then there might be something wrong
with the animal. When a zebra falls ill it starts to
lose the fat around its neck first. The fat in the neck
holds the mane-hair up and if it burns away the mane
starts to flop.
Domestication of zebra:
It is possible to domesticate zebra and through the
years zebra have been used by farmers for pulling carts
and farm machinery as well as for pulling coaches and
carriages. It is also possible to ride zebra like one
would ride a horse. It is not possible to race on a
zebra as there would be a risk of breaking its back.
The backs of most horses have a very deep arch making
a comfortable fit for the saddle where as the zebra's
back is more level. The horse's back bones are loser
fitting into one another, makings its back more flexible
to allow for more impact on the back while running fast.
The zebra's back bones are tighter fitting thus less
flexible making it risky to ride hard without breaking
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