We’ve already covered our beloved horses. Great animals, very useful and intelligent, have lived with alongside us – humans for millennia. However, they have “cousins”, if you will, who live in Africa and are incredibly iconic and distinct from all other animals – zebras. These magnificent animals have been portrayed in various paintings, movies, cartoons, documentaries and so on. And there are very good reasons for that. And while many people think that they know a lot about them, in reality, there is a lot that needs to be discussed about zebras that would surprise many people. So, here’s 15 Unbelievable Facts About Zebras.
- Well, here’s a thing, although very similar in structure, zebras aren’t actually horses, contrary to what some people think. Sorry. They’re in the same family (called Equidae) and they can even breed with each other, but they’re not the same species. And that’s just the first of 15 Unbelievable Facts About Zebras
- There are three species of zebra: Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), mountain zebra (E. zebra) and plains zebra (E. quagga). The last species are the most common. The plains zebra is divided into six subspecies and the mountain zebras are divided into two subspecies.
- The Grevy’s zebra can be found in dry, semi-desert areas of Kenya and Ethiopia, and the mountain zebra lives in mountainous and hilly habitats in Namibia, Angola and South Africa.
- Zebras communicate with each other by making various sounds. Some of them are similar to the ones that horses make, others are very distinct. Zebras snort when excited and nicker when greeting each other. Zebras also bray in a similar way to donkeys and mules, whereas horses don’t. Braying can be heard from long distances and can be used to attract mates. Zebras can also bark. They produce a very high-pitched bark-noise that you’d expect from a wild dog, rather than a horse fmaily member, but they do bark to find each other in groups.
- Zebras are herbivores who mainly eat grass. In fact, about 90% of their diets consists of grass and the rest is made up of twigs, braches, leaves, for example.
- Zebras can reach speeds of 65 km/h or 40 m/h, when running away from predators.
- Zebras have quite a few predators that prey on them, including: lions, leopards, hyenas and cheetahs. Luckily, they are very fast and stealthy, which makes them hard to catch and spot in the first place.
- The single most iconic physical characteristic of zebras are their stripes. They have black and white stripes running throughout their bodies. Why, you might ask? Well, even scientists don’t clearly know, but it’s theorized that their stripes help them against predators. How so? Well, if you think about it, most animals have fur which is similar in color tone to their environments, which helps them to blend in and be hard to spot. Whereas zebras can be seen from miles away, but here’s a thing while they can be easily spoted, they are also easy to mistake when in a group. So when a predator is chasing a certain zebra, the predator can begin hunting a different zebra and then a different one and tire out without catching anyone.
- Speaking of their stripes, each individual zebra has different unique stripes. Their stripes are like our fingerprints.
- Contrary to the previous belief, zebras are actually black with white stripes and not the other way around.
- Zebras are social animals and they tend to live in relatively large groups called “herds”. Some herds are “super herds” consisting of thousands of members and sometimes zebras even “team-up” with wildebeest, antilopes and gazelles. These herds are led by a single dominant male, and they also have a bunch of females (called “mares”) and their young (called “foals”).
- These youngins, when they are between 1 and 3 years of age, leave these herds and form their own bachelor herds (herds made up of only males) and stay together until they are old and strong enough to begin competing for females.
- Zebras seem pretty docile and friendly, but they can also be very dangerous, sometimes even to the predators who prey on them. When one zebra is injured from being attacked by a predator, often, other male zebras form a semi-circle facing the attacker to attack in an attempt to kill, injure or simply scare away the predator by biting and kicking and to therefore save their fellow zebra.
- Just like horses sometimes do, zebras sleep on their feet rather than laying down and they tend to do so when they are safe and in their herds.
- The gestation period of zebras is about 12 to 14 months. When baby zebras are born (again, called “foals”) they usually weigh about 25 to 40 kilograms or 55 to 88 pounds. Foals begin to walk and run several hours after being born and they suckle on the teets of their mothers for the first year and then turn into adults within the first 3 to 6 years and have an average lifespan of about 25 years.
And that’s it about the zebras, folks! Truly, they are some of the most beautiful and fascinating animals walking on the face of our planet. A lot is known about them, however, a lot is also unknown and we will continue to learn more and more about these amazing animals. And that concludes this 15 Unbelievable Facts About Zebras article!
That being said, if you love zebras and would be interested in clothing or artwork with with them, you might want to check these out: