Ten Facts about Zebras
Ten Facts about Zebras
Zebras are native to Africa.
Zebras usually live between twenty and thirty years, or up to forty years in zoos.
Zebras are from the same family as horses and donkeys (genus Equus). There are three main spieces of zebra: Burchell's Zebra, Grevy's Zebra and Mountain Zebra. Although they are in the same family as horses, they do not neigh like a horse does. Istead, they make a high pitched barking kind of noise.
Burchell's Zebra was named as a way of insulting the British explorer, William John Burchell. He spent several years in Africa in the early nineteenth century and brought back several plant and animal specimens on his return. Specimens were sent to the British Museum but were not stored properly and perished. An argument between Burchell and the museum's keeper of Zoological Collections, John Edward Gray, resulted in Gray deciding to give the name "Asinus Burcehlli" (Burchell's Ass) to Burchell's zebra as a way of publicly embarrassing him. Regardless of whether it did succeed in embarrassing him at the time, Burchell would probably be quite pleased to know that a speices of zebra is still named after him.
A zebra's stripe pattern is unique to each zebra, kind of like a human being's fingerprints. This enables zoologists to recognise the animals they are studying easily.
Zebras can run up to 35 miles per hour. They cannot run as fast as horses, but have greater stamina so are usually able to outrun predators.
Scientists believe that zebras have stripes for camouflage so they cannot be seen by predators in grass. You may wonder why they are black and white when grass is green but this is because their main predators (lions and hyenas) are colour-blind. The stripes also make it difficult to determine the outline of the body and can confuse predators.
Zebras are classed as being black and covered in white stripes. This may seem strange seeing as most zebras have white bellies but this is also the case for many other dark animals.
Zebras have good sight and hearing abilities. It is believed that they see in colour, and as their eyes are on the side of their head, they have a wider field of view than humans, so as well as being able to see what is in front of them, they can see what is at the side of them too. Their night vision isn't so great, but their hearing is good, and, like horses, they can turn their ears in any direction.
Zebras usually breed for the first time by the age of three and are usually pregnant for between twelve to fourteen months.