Zebras are one of the most beautiful animals inhabiting Africa. Several people know them for their iconic black and white stripes and the eternal riddle about them being white with black stripes or black with white stripes.
The exceptional stripes of the zebras make them one of the mammals most familiar to people. They live in a variety of habitats, such as savannas, grasslands, thorny scrublands, woodlands, coastal hills, and mountains. However, different anthropogenic factors have had a detrimental impact on the population of zebras, in particular, habitat destruction and hunting for skins.
Zebras have an exceptional hearing ability and have more prominent, rounder ears than the horses; like other ungulates, zebras can also turn their ears in nearly all directions. Aside from excellent hearing and eyesight, zebras also have acute senses of taste and smell.
The common plains zebra is approximately 47 to 51 inches (1.2 to 1.3 meters) at the shoulder with a body ranging from 6.6 to 8.5 feet (2–2.6 meters) long with a 20 inches (0.5 meters) tail. It can weigh up to 770 lb (350 kg), males being slightly larger than the females.
Zebras feed almost entirely on grasses, but may still eat herbs, shrubs, twigs, bark, and leaves. Their digestive systems enable them to subsist on the diets of lower nutritional quality than that needed for other herbivores.
Zebras can be live in grasslands, shrublands, grasslands, and mountains of Africa. There are three main zebra species: Plain, Mountain and Grevy’s zebra. The last two species are currently endangered. Here are a handful of interesting facts you might not know about zebras.
1. Zebras can run up to 65kilometers per hour. They combine this speed with zig-zagging motions and excellent stamina to try and escape predators which chase them.
2. Zebras communicate with one another through different vocal expressions including balking and sniffing, but also through the position of their tail and ears. Since they can rotate their ears in nearly any direction, they harness this ability to express their mood, for instance, standing erect when calm and friendly, or pulled back when angry.
3. According to the scientists, zebras can see different colors, and they have a wider viewing range than human beings. They can see on both sides and in front of them at a time. Also, zebras have an excellent hearing ability that helps them evade their predators.
4. Zebras are responsible for more injuries to United States zookeepers than any other animal.
5. If a zebra is wounded, its family will always come to its defense circling the injured zebra and trying to drive off any predators.
6. Zebras and ostriches usually live together to protect one another from the predators. The zebra can smell or hear danger better, and the ostrich can see very well.
7. Horses and donkeys are close relatives of the zebras, but unlike them, zebras cannot be domesticated and trained because of their wild nature
8. Scientists can recognize individual zebras by “scanning” their stripes like a barcode. Every zebra has its pattern of stripes (width, number, etc.) and these patterns can be utilized for the identification of these animals.
9. The primary purpose for their black and white stripes is for camouflage. Studies have also revealed that the stripes help to deter blood-sucking insects, like horseflies, from attacking them.
10. They eat leaves and grass. Zebras cannot survive without water, and they have to drink it at least once a day.
11. The skin under the coat of a zebra is black. That means that zebras are black with white stripes; contrary to popular belief that they have both black and white stripes.
12. Zebras are very social, and will only go to sleep if they’re close to neighbors so that they can alert if a predator approaches. Additionally, they prefer to graze together and will even groom each other.