When driving across the savanna of Africa you may hear galloping of hooves behind you. Don’t expect horses. It will be zebras!
The featured image is a portrait of a plains zebra.
There are several theories about the stripes on the hides of zebras which include ease of identification for foal, camouflage, and to chase flies away. None of these are proven. So why do zebras have stripes? Because they can.
There are three subspecies of these aquus, Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi), plains zebra (Equus burchelli) and mountain zebras. They differ in size and coloration. Grevy’s, are a subspecies sometimes found at the Maasai Mara. They are the largest, at about 900 pounds, 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and 8 feet long. Plains and mountain zebras (Equus zebra) are 1 to 2 feet shorter and about 200 pounds lighter. The Grey and mountain zebras are found in the North African regions like northern Kenya. The males and females of the same species are about the same size. The gestation period is about 13 months. These horse like animals can’t be used as draft animals, can’t be crossbred, and can’t be domesticated. They are just wild, free-spirited animals living life to the fullest and on the edge.
The Planes Zebra is the national animal of Botswana. These are by far the most frequently seen species on our safari.
Zebra in the Delta
Zebra in the Mara
The zebra are herbivores that eat mostly grasses and some leaves. They are usually prey to the carnivores especially the big cats. The Maasai Mara has significantly less water and fewer trees than the Okavango. The zebras seen here were part of the great migration and as you will see had a different behavior. They were more social, there was more competition among the male zebras and they were co-mingled with the other grazing animals like the wildebeests and African buffalos.
If I had to pick an animal that comes first to mind when I think of Africa I would be torn between the zebra and the giraffe. They are both such a visual surprise. We saw them throughout the day and in most locations. The stripes did not significantly contribute to their camouflage. As mentioned earlier the sight of many of their predators may interpret them differently than human perception. Just for fun, you should read “West With Giraffes” by Linda Rutledge
#Africa #zebra # Zoo # Botswana #Kenya #Maasai Mara # Okavango #
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6 responses to “Zebra”
Beautiful Zebras! I love how they look out for each other…we saw a lot of them and it never got old! Always happy to see them
Ode to Zebra
Across the African shrublands,
savannas, mountains & plains
Stripes full of eye candy
Flirting with nature
A dazzle of wonder 🦓
Thank you for the outstanding photography & catalog of knowledge John !