Zebras are really cool animals and they look pretty neat too with all those amazing stripes.
Here are our top facts about zebras which you probably won’t know until now! Enjoy.
There are three main species of Zebras which are called Grevy’s, mountain and plains. The plains zebra is the most common and there are 6 subspecies of them, and there are 2 subspecies of the mountain zebra.
The subspecies of plains zebras are the Grant’s zebra, Half-maned zebra, Burchell’s zebra Damara zebra, Chapman’s zebra, Crawshay’s zebra and the Quagga zebra which is now extinct.
The subspecies of mountain zebras are the Cape Mountain Zebra and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. They are a threatened species which means there aren’t all that many of them left. That’s not cool at all!
Bet you didn’t know this. Zebras can run seriously fast. In fact, they can run up to 65 miles (105km) per hour. Now that is seriously fast. They can even outrun a lion! When a baby is born, called a foal just like a horse, they can run with the group within a couple of hours of being born. How cool is that?
How do Zebras Keep Cool?
A zebra’s stripy coat is thought to get rid of more than 70% of incoming heat. This makes sure that they don’t overheat in the harsh African sun. That’s lucky for them!
Facts About Zebra Stripes
Now this is a seriously cool fact. Apparently a zebra’s stripes are there to help camouflage them in long grass and keep those nasty predators away.
But here’s the amazing part…recent research showed that their stripes may have evolved to keep biting insects away! Whoa, that’s unreal. Their pattern seems to confuse flies and other insects.
No two zebras ever have the same 2 stripes. They are just like our fingerprints. Phew there must be loads of different patterns!
Guess how a foal recognizes its mother? Well from her stripes of course. That’s really awesome!
Zebra’s Social Lives
Yes, zebra’s do have social lives just like us, but they are different for each species.
Grevy zebras have quite an open social group, where they might or might not hang around together.
On the other hand, the plains and mountain zebras are very close indeed. They are always seen together in groups.
In these groups there will be a dominant male as well as up to 6 female zebras who are moms with their babies. Each female has a different place in the group, with some being more important than others.
The groups are so close, that if one of them gets injured by a predator, they will all stand around the wounded animal and try and scare off the predator with their teeth and hooves. That’s really cool.
Did you know that zebras sleep standing up? Do you think you would be able to fall asleep standing up? They’ll also only sleep when they are in the safety of a group.
Zebras in Groups
You’ll often find that zebras join other groups of animals like the wildebeest for safety in numbers. A large herd of animals is confusing to predators. How clever are they?
One of the coolest things to see in the natural world is the annual 1,800 mile (2,897km) migration of millions of zebra, blue wildebeest and other antelope between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya’s Masai Mara in a constant search of food and water. Make sure you find a programme on TV that shows this, you’ll be amazed!
This is rather strange! In Ancient Rome zebras were trained to pull chariots at circuses. They were called ‘hippo tigris’ which means ‘horse tiger’.
There are some awesome facts about zebras that can maybe help you with a school project or just to be super zebra smart!
History of Their Name
The history behind how Zebras got their name demonstrates how mysterious these horse-like animals actually are.
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary states that their name originated in the early 17th century and come from the Italian, the Spanish, or the Portuguese language.
Many researchers view the origins as uncertain, but the name may have Latin roots when looking at its genus and family names.
No real origin record of the Zebras name? Very mysterious if you ask me!
Looking Between the Lines of Their Family
Often times we like to think Zebras are just horses with black and white stripes.
Zebras are certainly their own animal, but that explanation isn’t necessarily that far off.
Though they are native to the continent of Africa, Zebras actually belong to the genus called Equus. This makes Zebras close relatives of both the horse and the donkey we see here in America.
Want to know an interesting fact?
In captivity, when Zebras mate with donkeys or horses they can produce offspring with silly names like:
Zorse (zebra and a horse)
Zony (zebra and a pony)
Zeedonk (zebra and donkey. Our personal favorite silly hybrid name!)
Zebra hybrids are actually really rare in the animal kingdom.
But did you know there are actually three main living species of wild zebra?
The most common and well-known species is the Plains zebra. Their habitat can be found all over the southern and eastern parts of Africa.
Mountain zebras are native to mountainous regions of southwestern Africa. They are on the Endangered Species list with only a 2,700 population in the wild.
The rarest species of zebra is the Grevy’s zebra. There are an estimated 2,500 Grevy’s zebras left in the wild and can be found in small areas of Kenya and Ethiopia. They are the biggest of the three species and can weigh almost a ton!
They can look a little like an average mule with stripes because of their long and narrow head shape.
Each species of zebra has stripes, though each has small differences in the patterns.
You can only tell the differences if you really know how to read between the lines…or stripes in this case!
Unfortunately, in the early 1900’s hunters called poachers would hunt these beautiful creatures.
Almost to extinction!
The Quagga zebra wasn’t so lucky. The Quagga is currently extinct.
Luckily, very smart scientists have discovered that the Quagga zebra may just be a Plains zebra with a different style and color of stripes then we are used to seeing.
Most Quagga had a reddish and brown coloration to their stripes.
This research may be used in the future to possibly bring back a once extinct variation of zebra through selective breeding.
Thanks For Reading!
I hope you enjoyed learning more about zebra facts and how many can be found if you just read between the lines!