20+ Interesting Facts About Zebras

  1. Zebras belong to the equid family of mammals, which includes horses and asses. There are three species of zebras: Grevy’s zebra, plains (or Burchell’s) zebra, and mountain zebra. These zebras are present in the eastern and southern parts of Africa. Plain zebra is the most numerous of all species, while Grevy’s zebra is the largest among zebras. (Source
  2. The most prominent feature of zebras is their black and white stripes. These mammals have coats of dark hair with white stripes. These stripes provide several advantages to zebras, including protection from horseflies and tsetse flies, thermoregulation, and camouflage. (Source)
  3. Like the unique pattern of fingerprints in humans, the design of stripes is unique in each zebra.
  4. Zebras live alongside wildebeest and giraffes. It provides better protection for all animals.
  5. Zebras are pure herbivores, and grasses make up 90% of their food intake. They prefer green and short grass. They also eat leaves, twigs, herbs, and shrubs. They can drink up to a gallon of water at a time and can survive for five days without water. Herds of zebras may travel up to 700 miles to find food and water. (Source)
  6. Zebras are one of the few animals that can sleep while standing up. (Source)
  7. Quagga, a relative of zebra, became extinct more than 100 years ago. This animal had strips on the front half of its body. Now scientists have brought a similar animal through selective breeding of zebra. (Source 
  8. The newborn zebra can stand up within 15 minutes of birth and walk in an hour. The mother zebra will keep her fowl away from other zebras for a few days so that the fowl may recognize her with smell, sight, and sound.
  9. Horses have chestnuts, considered a pre-evolutionary feature, on all their legs. Comparatively, zebras contain chestnuts only on their front legs.
  10. According to a study, plains zebras cover the longest distance among mammals during migration. They run 240 km in early December while traveling from Chobe River in Namibia to Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana. They return to Namibia after two months totaling a distance of 480 km. (Source)
  11. Zebras provide better grass to cattle during the wet season. These mammals eat long grass with less nutrition and leave nutritious grass for cattle to graze. It makes the cattle healthier as compared to places without zebras. (Source)
  12. According to a study, captive plains zebras have the highest rate of infanticide among ungulates. (Source)
  13. Unlike horses and donkeys, zebras can’t be domesticated. It is due to their unpredictable and aggressive nature. But the hybridization of zebras with horses and donkeys is possible. (Source)
  14. Zebras are one of few mammals that are not colorblind and can see different colors.
  15. Grevy’s zebras are named after the former French king Jules Grevy. He received this zebra as a gift from the then Ethiopian king in 1882. 
    A Grevy zebra resting
    Grevy's Zebras are named after the French king Jules Grevy

  16. Unlike other zebras and horses, Grevy’s zebras don’t form long-lasting herds. Their social structure can change very quickly.
  17. Plain and mountain zebras form small family groups that contain a male zebra with several mares and their offspring. Male Grevy’s zebras establish territories by using dung piles.
  18. According to estimates, zebras initially appeared on earth around 4 million years ago. Grevy’s zebras are the oldest among all the species.
  19. Zebras can live for 25 to 30 years in the wild. In captivity, these animals can live for up to 40 years.
  20. The average height of zebras is between 3.5 to 5 feet. They can weigh between 440 to 990 pounds. Males are larger and heavier and keep a harem of five to six females. (Source)
  21. Big cats (African lions, leopards, and cheetah), African wild dogs, spotted hyenas, and Nile crocodiles are the main predators of zebras. (Source)
  22. Zebras use their herd power to defend themselves against predators. They form a semi-circle toward attackers and use their powerful kicks for protection.
  23. Zebras can run up to 65 km/h (40 mph). They also run zigzags to avoid chasing predators. 

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