Zebras,Description, Species, Distribution, Habitat, Diet, Reproduction, Behavior, Threat, lifespan, Interesting facts, and Zebra and human interaction
Description of the zebra
Zebras have black fur with white stripes and a predominantly white belly. His feet are covered with a unique hard shell that lashes out when he kicks predators. They have large, rounded ears with lots of hair to protect them from dust. Its tail has long black fur that starts at about mid-tail while the top is striped.
Despite their appearance, zebras aren't all black and white. They are hardy and energetic animals that study contrasts: stubborn and playful, sociable and aloof, resilient and vulnerable. Their pack life can be complex, but they also find safety in numbers. They fall prey to predators, but they are by no means creepy violets when it comes to self-defense.
Zebras are Equidae, members of the horse family. They have excellent hearing and eyesight and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour). They also have a powerful kick that can inflict serious injury on a predator such as a lion, hyena, or wild dog. Typically, the main male of the herd, called the stallion, sounds the alarm when danger is detected and stays at the rear of the herd to ward off predators if necessary, while the mares (females) and foals (youngsters) run away.
Zebras often trot when migrating to new pastures, which is a fairly fast pace but manageable for the long distances they must travel. Their rigid shells are designed to withstand the impact of body weight and run smoothly over rocky terrain. Zebras rest for the night while one stays on guard to avoid an ambush.
It is commonly believed that zebras have white coats with black (sometimes brown) stripes. Because if you look at most zebras, the stripes end up on the stomach and insides of the legs, and the rest is all white.
However, some zebras are born with genetic variations that make them all black with white stripes, or rather dark with the stripe pattern on only part of the coat. And it turns out that zebras have black fur under their hair.
The stripes serve as a kind of protection against predators. When zebras cluster together, their combined stripes make it difficult for a lion or leopard to decide which zebra to hunt. Zebra stripes are unique to each individual, and desert explorers used individual zebra stripe patterns for identification.
Species of zebras
There are three different species: Plains, Mountain, and Grevy's zebras. Different zebra species have different types of stripes, ranging from narrow to wide. The further south you travel through the African plains, the further away the crosswalks become! The basic shape of zebras—a large head, powerful neck, long legs, a dorsal stripe down the spine, and a tufted tail with a shaggy mane—is universal. No zebra or other wild horse has a sandwich.
The Grevy's zebra is the largest, weighing 770 to 990 pounds (350 to 450 kg) and standing up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) at the shoulder. Its thick neck and large rounded ears give the Grevy's zebra the most mullet build. The Grévy's zebra also has the finest stripes that extend to its white belly; on the hind legs, the stripes run vertically across the hind legs.
A mountain zebra
A mountain zebra has vertical stripes on the neck and torso, which become wider and narrower horizontal stripes on the hips. It has a checkered pattern on the rump and the white underside has a dark stripe running down the belly. A mountain zebra also has a prominent dewlap on its neck that looks a bit like Adam's apple.
The plains zebra
The common zebra is the most common and smallest of the three zebra species. Some subspecies have a different stripe pattern than all others: brown "shadow" stripes between the black stripes on their fur.
Distribution of zebras
These animals live exclusively in Africa. Different species and subspecies have different ranges in Africa and all species have a narrow range of their historical range. Plains zebras are widespread in south-eastern Africa, from southern Sudan to South Africa. Mountain zebras are restricted to small areas in southwest Africa. Finally, the Grévy's zebras live in the grasslands of Ethiopia and northern Kenya.
Habitat of zebras
All zebra species live in Africa. They are mainly found in the savannas in flocks near waterholes.
The mountain zebra lives in Ethiopia, Somalia, the mountains of southern Angola, Namibia, and the Cape Province.
The plains zebra covers a larger territory than other species. This includes the entire southern and eastern part of the African plains.
The Grévy's zebra, on the other hand, lives in northern Kenya.
The zebra is a herbivorous animal. It feeds on fresh grass, leaves, fruits, shoots, tree bark, and roots, among other things.
Diet of zebras
Zebras are herbivores that feed primarily on grasses, although they may also graze the leaves and stems of bushes to some extent. They graze for many hours each day, cutting the edges of the grass with their powerful front teeth. Their molars crush and grind food. Spending so much time chewing wears down your teeth, so those teeth will continue to grow throughout your life.
When the dry season comes and the grass dies, herds of zebras move to find more food and water sources to drink. Most zebras are considered nomads with no specific territories. The exception is Grévy's zebra. Stallions of this type mark territories with urine and manure. The mares, their foals, and immature males move at will. When food is scarce, stallions temporarily leave their territory and travel with larger herds.
Reproduction of zebras
Mares may give birth any year and may breed 10 days after birth if they so choose. But they usually only give birth to a child every 2 years.
Gestation lasts about 390 days for the Grévy's zebra, 330 to 375 days for the plains zebra, and 340 to 360 days for the mountain zebra.
The female only produces milk for 1 young, which means that a young orphan has little chance of surviving. At 15 days, the baby begins to graze on the grass, but his mother continues to breastfeed him for up to 7 months.
Juveniles are very much surrounded by their parents, but also by the whole herd. The stallion watches over his safety with great attention. Around the age of 2 or 3, they leave the family to settle in a new group and try to integrate there.
Behavior of zebras
Herds of zebras usually consist of one permanent family. There is the dominant male, one or two females, and their young. In contrast, the male Grévy's zebra lives alone, and the groups consist only of females and young.
The family unit is very stable. A hierarchy is established between mares of the same family, as well as between zebras of different ages.
Zebra and human interaction
Humans have always used these animals for their meat, fur, and trophies. They are also considered competitors for livestock and are even slaughtered (killed) for this. Many populations and subpopulations have been severely depleted. The Grévy's zebra population is considered endangered due to hunting and destruction of the population for agriculture.
Attempts have been made to domesticate these animals, but have been largely unsuccessful. Compared to horses, zebras are very fickle. They are unpredictable, can be quite aggressive, and panic under stressful conditions.
The zebra makes a good pet
Zebras do not make good pets for ordinary people. They require a lot more handling and desensitization than the average horse and can be more spirited. Only the most experienced handler should take care of the zebras.
Care of zebras
In human care, zebras should have plenty of freedom of movement, although enclosures should be strong and secure to prevent escape. They should also have access to fresh grass to facilitate grazing. They should also be supplemented with hay and fresh vegetables as treats. They should be kept in packs as they are social creatures.
Threat of zebras
Lions and hyenas can prey on adult zebras and wild dogs, and cheetahs and leopards can prey on young foals and pre-adult calves. Predators feed on vulnerable animals: sick, old, injured, isolated, young, or late-gestation females.
The zebra is fast to run, can jump at a speed of 60 km / h, run faster than a lioness, and maintain this speed for several hundred meters. Zebras and other horses can bite or snap a lioness' jaw with a kick in the hoof, and worse, their kicks can be deadly.
Interesting facts about the zebra
Scientists believe their stripes have two deterrent properties. First, the vertical stripes help them blend in with the tall grass that surrounds them. Second, moving together creates a dizzying pattern of moving stripes, making it difficult for predators to select a target.
Stripes are not just generic camouflage, each zebra is uniquely marked. No two zebras are the same, and just like human fingerprints, all zebras have different stripe patterns. Some scientists even believe that zebras can be identified by stripe patterns.
Zebra stripes can help repel insects. The researchers found that the zebra stripe patterns disorientated the blood-sucking flies and effectively repelled them.
Zebras and most members of the equine (or equine) family sleep upright. Horse family members can be injured if they lie down for long periods of time as their own body weight can damage their internal organs.
It is believed that a zebra's night vision is as good as that of an owl.
Zebras have a layer of fat under their mane that keeps them upright.
lifespan of zebras
lifespan in captivity
Zebras can be seen in zoos, and most of them have no problem reproducing in captivity. They also outlive their natural counterparts due to various factors. In captivity, zebras enjoy the luxury of medical attention from their keepers.
In addition, food shortages are becoming a nonexistent problem. Predators are also out of the question. These three factors result in a long service life that can reach 40 years.
lifespan in wild
In their natural habitat, zebras can live up to 25 years. This number can vary depending on food scarcity and predators. In addition, they can be affected by various diseases that shorten their lifespan.
In some cases, they can live up to 30 years. However, the actual number is much lower. The average lifespan of a zebra in the wild is around nine years. This number is apparently low, due to predation and the fact that 50% of foals die in the first year.
In addition, the water can be contaminated with parasites and come into contact with various diseases that would require medical attention. It is quite common to see zebras with infected wounds that can incapacitate them and make them vulnerable targets for predators.