Zebras are one of the many beautiful creatures inhabiting Africa.
Many people know them for their iconic stripes and the never ending riddle about them being black with white stripes, or white with black stripes.
Here are a handful of facts you might or might not know about these striped horses.
- The zebra is actually mostly covered in white and striped with black or dark brown stripes, but underneath their coat is black skin.
- There are different types of zebra, each with a different stripe pattern. The mountain zebra normally has vertical stripes on its neck and across its torso while horizontal strips cover their legs.
- Zebras run in a zig-zag pattern when being chased by a predator to make it more difficult for the predator to run after them.
- The pattern of a zebras stripes are different for each individual zebra, making them each as unique snowflakes!
- The black & white striped pattern of their coats is a good bug repellant, keeping horseflies and other blood-suckers at bay.
- A group of zebras is called a ‘zeal’.
- The Native American culture refers to the zebra as a symbol of balance and sureness of path.
- The Swahili name for the zebra is ‘Punda Milia’.
- Romans used Grévy’s zebras to pull two wheeled carts for their circuses.
- In Roman Circuses the zebra was usually called a ‘Tiger-Horse’ or a ‘Horse-Tiger’.
- When faced by predators, zebras will form a semi-circle and bit, nip or attack the predators if they come to close to them. They will also encircle an injured family member to protect it from further attack if the need arises.
- A mother zebra will keep her foal away from all other zebras for two or three days until the foal can recognize her scent, voice, and appearance.
- Zebras form hierarchies with a Stallion (male) in the lead followed by his Harem (group of females) behind him.
- When traveling with his harem, the stallion will lead them with his head low and his ears laid back.
- Zebra’s bunch together to confuse colorblind predators, such as lions, which mistake the pattern as grass.
- Zebras are one of the few mammals that we believe can see in color.
- Zebras are actually pretty short and can be 3.5-5 feet tall.
- The Grévy’s zebra is named after Jules Grévy, president of France (in 1882) who received a zebra as a present from the emperor of Abyssinia.
- Another name for Grévy’s Zebras are Imperial Zebras.
- A zebra can run up to 65 km/h or 40 mph.
- To sleep, generally zebras don’t lie down – instead they usually sleep standing up.
- Zebras can rotate their ears in almost any direction; this ability is used to communicate their mood with other zebras.
- Zebras have one toe on each foot.
- Zebras cannot see the color orange.
- A species of zebra is called ‘Asinus Burchelli’ after a conflict between William John Burchell and John Edward Gray sparked. Burchell brought specimens from Africa to The British Museum and the specimens died. Gray felt the need to Embarrass Burchell because of the incident; the name means “Burchelli’s Ass”.