The Zebra

The Zebra belongs to the horse family. Its distinguishing marks are its unique black stripes, akin to the fingerprints on humans.

One of nature's great mysteries is why the Zebra has stripes. One theory is that the stripes help the zebra cool down. On hot days the black stripes get a lot hotter than the white area of the zebra and under the black stripes there are special layers of fat for protection. Hot air then rises off the black stripes forcing colder air down around the white areas thus cooling the zebra down. This, however is just a theory.

The stripes are also used as camouflage to confuse predators when zebras huddle in great numbers or mingle with herds of antelopes. The Zebra enjoys grazing the plains & savannahs during the day and sleeping during the night roaming in groups with one or two members acting as lookouts during the night.

Name: Burchell's Zebra - Equus burchellii
Grevy's Zebra - Equus grevyi

Size: Burchell's Zebra stands 45 to 55 inches at the shoulder. Grevy's Zebra stands 50 to 60 inches.

Weight: Burchell's Zebra weighs 485 to 550 pounds. Grevy's weighs 770 to 990.

Reproduction: Single young born any time of the year. Gestation is +/-12 months.

Habitat: Woodlands and open plains. Burchell's zebras inhabit savannas, from treeless grasslands to open woodlands; they sometimes occur in tens of thousands in migratory herds on the Serengeti plains.

Grevy's zebras are now mainly restricted to parts of northern Kenya. Although they are adapted to semi-arid conditions and require less water than other zebra species, these zebras compete with domestic livestock for water and have suffered heavy poaching for their meat and skins.

Diet: Zebra are herbivores and avid grazers. Both Burchell's and Grevy's zebras are in constant search of green pastures. In the dry season, they can live on coarse, dry grass only if they are within a short distance of water holes.

Lifespan: 28 years.

Predators: Lions, hyenas, hunting dogs, leopards and cheetahs

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