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Zebra

Out of all the mammals in the world, Zebras are one of the most recognizable. These striking creatures with horse like physiques and their unique stripes are native to southern and eastern Africa. For an animal that almost everybody has heard of, it’s surprising that so many know so little about the Zebra, aside from its looks.

Almost everybody could recognize a zebra. Zebras are well known for their unique black and white stripes which cover their entire body. Zebra’s share a physique similar to that of horses, mules, and donkeys. Although ranging in size depending on their species and habitat, Zebras can be just as big as wild and domesticated horse breeds. Zebras average to around 350kg but there have been recorded examples of Zebras weighing as much as 420kg.
Zebra - Giraffe
An average plains zebra measures around 1.3 meters high at the shoulder, can be as long as 2.6 meters, and has a characteristically long tail of around 18 inches. The stripes of a zebra are completely unique from animal to animal. The alternating black and white pattern can help to camouflage the Zebra, as well as provide a visual disruption to predators trying to target individuals within a herd.

Zebras are herbivores, meaning they feed exclusively on plants and basic grasses. A Zebra’s primary source of nutrition is grass, but they also feed on shrubs, leaves, twigs, and sometimes even bark.

Zebras are extremely social and live mostly in herds or smaller harems. Plains and mountain Zebras live in harems of up to 7 or 8 adult Zebras. Only one of these would be a stallion, the rest mares and their foals. The stallion has exclusive breeding rights within his harem while other mature males live alone or within groups of other males, until they are old or strong enough to challenge a stallion.

Today there are some species of Zebra that have become endangered due to habitat destruction, as well as hunting activity. The most at risk species are the mountain Zebras, which while almost reaching extinction are now protected under conservation laws in most of their habitats. Unfortunately, even where laws exist it’s sometimes impossible to enforce them in countries with very few resources and wildlife conservation staff. All Zebras, even the ones that are not endangered, remain at risk due to hunting for skins and meat, and reduced grazing due to competition with livestock.

A beautiful creature, and one of the most well-known African animals, Zebra populations could be maintained for generations to come with the right conservation efforts.