Fun facts about Zebras

    zebra facts

    Zebra facts

    Scientific Name Equus quagga
    Family Equidae
    Avg. weight 350 kg (770 lb)
    Top speed 64 km/h (40 mph)
    Avg. life span 25 years
    More... Zebra Info

    Fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts

    Zebra species
    There are three species of zebra: Grevy’s zebra, mountain zebra and plains zebra. Grévy's zebra is endangered and the mountain zebra is classified as vulnerable. Plains zebra is the most common in the world today.

    Cool zebra facts


    zebra facts

    Named after a president
    In 1882, Jules Grevy, the president of France, was given a zebra as a gift from the King of Abyssinia (what is now Ethiopia). A French zoologist realized that this type of zebra was different from other zebras and named the species after President Grevy.

    Fun facts about zebra


    Zebra facts
    Male zebras have four more teeth (short, pointed canines) than females and they use them for fighting. Male mountain zebras and male plains zebras have 40 teeth. Male Grevy's zebras have 42 teeth. Female mountain zebras and female plains zebras have 36 teeth. Female Grevy's zebras have 38 teeth.

    Fun facts about zebra


    Zebra facts
    Among the three species, Mountain Zebra is the smallest in size and the Grevy's Zebra is the largest. Plains Zebras have shorter legs than the other two species. As far as the pattern of stripes is concerned, Plains Zebra is the only species, which has stripes covering the entire back and the belly. In other two species, belly is white in color. Some Plains Zebras have shades of gray (shadow stripes) between the black stripes. The stripes in Mountain Zebras are wide ones, especially on the back. Grevy's Zebra has closely set, narrower stripes.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Burchell's zebra is named after the British explorer, William John Burchell.

    Fun facts about zebra


    Zebra facts
    Mountain zebras have a dewlap. Burchell's zebras and Grevy's zebras do not have a dewlap.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Romans called the zebra 'hippotigris' as it looks like horse (hippo) and has stripes like a tiger (tigris). They trained zebras to pull two-wheeled carts for exhibition in circuses.

    Fun facts about zebra


    Zebra facts
    When a foal is born the mother keeps all other zebras (even the members of her family) away from it for 2 or 3 days, until it learns to recognize her by sight, voice and smell.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras are the largest of all zebras, and they have long necks with prominent, erect manes. They have the largest ears of any zebra species, and their long, narrow heads give them a ass-like appearance while the other two species (mountain zebra and plains zebra) have horse-like appearance

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    The two major characteristics that set zebras apart from their two closest relatives are their very distinct black and white stripes and their untamable wild nature. The black and white stripes appear all over the zebra's body, even on their mane and ears. While their coat is black and white, their skin is dark brown or black. Grevy's zebra have about 80 stripes in all.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras have many other adaptations that are common to all zebras. They have long, slender legs and hoofed feet that allow them to run quickly in an effort to avoid fast-moving predators. Grevy's zebras also have very keen eyesight. Their large eyes are set far back on their heads, which provides a wide field of vision and the ability to spot movement at great distances.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras' teeth are well adapted for grazing. They use their upper and lower incisors to clip vegetation and high-crowned, ridged molars for grinding. All of their teeth are elongated and covered with thick enamel to allow them to chew tough, abrasive grass constantly. Males have four more teeth than females: short, pointed canines used for fighting.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras are the largest of all zebra species. They stand 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) tall at the shoulder, can reach a length of 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) and typically weigh between 770 and 950 pounds (348.8 to 430.4 kilograms).

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Populations of Grevy's zebra live in Ethiopia and northern Kenya, with a small introduced population in southern Kenya. Fewer than 100 remain in Ethiopia and fewer than 2,400 in Kenya. Grevy's zebra have been extirpated from Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. Grevy's zebras live in semi-arid scrub and grasslands and prefer hot, dry regions. They can often be seen on the open plains mingling with other grazing animals such as wildebeest, ostriches and antelopes.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Fossils found in China and Uzbekistan, as well as a two million-year-old fossil found in South Africa, suggest that ancestral forms of Grevy's zebras were once widespread in Africa and Eurasia. More recent fossils show that, during the Neolithic period (about 6,000 years ago), Grevy's zebras had a range that extended as far north as Egypt.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras feed mainly on grasses but they will also consume bark, fruit and leaves. Poor nutrient content requires a high volume of intake, so they spend about 60 percent of their day eating. In drier times when food is scarce, eating can occupy up to 80 percent of their time. Zebras are beneficial to other wild grazers because they clear off the tops of coarse grasses that are difficult for other herbivores to digest.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    To provide the proper amount of roughage in the diet, the Smithsonian's National Zoo feeds a balanced ratio of a manufactured pellet diet and hay. Typically, a nutrient composition of hay is variable. In contrast, manufactured pellet diets provide a consistent supply of nutrients. Grevy's zebras are also given leaf eater biscuits while training and offered salt licks.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Unlike all other species of zebras, Grevy's zebras do not form permanent herds or permanent social bonds between adults. Mares and their latest foals make up the basis for Grevy social structure. These mare-foal units can combine together with other mares and foals. These "herds" do not have hierarchies and are subject to change. These female herds usually include fewer than ten mares, but much larger groups can be seen together around water sources in the dry season. Meanwhile, male zebras also form loose bachelor herds—usually between two to six stallions. These groups have no apparent leader or dominance hierarchy and constantly change as more zebras enter or leave the herd.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Many adult male Grevy's zebras live alone and occupy large territories. Males without territories usually form bachelor herds. These free-ranging groups often wander into areas occupied by a resident male. Territorial males tolerate other males and often will seek out their company unless there is a female in estrus nearby. In this case, the resident male will chase off all other males and try to mate with the female and keep her from leaving his area. Two males will compete for a territory by having pushing contests, rearing and biting. Females have a dominance hierarchy, as well, but engage in mutual grooming to establish relationships with each other. Females with young may form loose nursery herds.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Sexual maturity for Grevy's zebras is two to three years for mares and six years for stallions

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Females will usually give birth to a single foal after a gestation period of 390 days, the longest of any equid. The mother will leave the herd to give birth in heavy brush. The mother drives away other zebras during the first two days of life before rejoining the nursery group. Newborns orient on their mother's rump and tail pattern. Young are weaned at nine months.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's females become independent of their mother at 13 to 18 months of age. Young males remain with their mother for at least three years. Independent adolescents move freely from herd to herd.

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    In the wild, Grevy's zebras live to between 20 and 25 years. In human care, they live to between 25 and 30 years.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Grevy's zebras are endangered. Now confined to northern Kenya and southern and eastern Ethiopia, Grevy's zebras have faced one of the greatest range reductions of any African mammal. They no longer live in Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti, and may be gone from Sudan as well. There may be fewer than 2,500 Grevy's zebras in the wild

    Cool zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Historically, Grevy's zebras have been hunted for their meat and attractive skins, which are used to make consumer items such as coats, rugs, and bags. To help increase the number of Grevy's zebras, Kenya banned all hunting of zebras in May of 1977 and all trading of wildlife products in March of 1978. Ethiopia has also legally protected this species.

    fun zebra facts


    Zebra facts
    Habitat loss continues to be a problem. Grevy's zebras must compete with an increasing number of domestic livestock for water and food. Badly managed tourism, like off-road driving, can limit their access to breeding and watering sites—areas essential for their survival.