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Resources Zebras are members of the horse family Equidae that inhabit tropical grasslands savannas in much of sub Saharan Africa. Three of the seven species of equids are zebras. Zebras are herd-living, social ungulates hoofed mammals recognized by a black-and-white or cream or yellowish striped coat, short erect mane, and a tail averaging about 18 in 0.
The body length of a zebra is about There are three species and several subspecies of zebra. The third species is the mountain zebra E. The stripes of the zebra camouflage the animal in the waving grasses of the African grasslands, especially at dusk and dawn. Zebras rest in herds in open ground where they can see predators approaching, rather than lying down in the grass. When a herd of zebras is being chased by predators such as lions or hyenas, their stripes make it difficult for predators to visually latch on to a specific animal to attack.
Other suggestions are that the stripes identify individual zebras as part of a group and also initiates mating behavior.
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It has the widest stripes of all zebras, and the stripes continue down to the belly of the animal. There are several subspecies of the common zebra, distinguishable by the pattern of stripes on the rump. Herds of common plains zebras are actually a collection of family groups. Each family group is headed by a dominant male stallion, and one female is dominant over the other seven or eight females and their young. When the group is feeding or drinking, one animal stands guard. If a predator approaches, such as a troop of wild dogs or lions, the stallion zebra moves to the back of the fleeing herd and ensures that no single animal falls behind or gets separated and becomes vulnerable to attack.
Zebras that become isolated call attention to their plight by making a harsh sound like a combination bark and bray, which draws the other zebras back to protect it. Given the chance, a zebra fights primarily by kicking with its hind hooves.
After a young mare mates for the first time, she will stay with the same family group for the rest of her life. Males that have not yet developed herds—or that have been ousted from their herds by other males— live in male-only bands bachelor herds , which they leave to find mates at about six years old. Gestation lasts approximately one year, with only one off spring produced. The young are born with disproportionately long legs and are ready to run with the herd within a few minutes.
The brown-striped coat of a new foal gradually changes to the familiar black and white. Mountain zebras There are two subspecies of mountain zebras in South Africa which live on rough, rocky highlands, but once also occurred in large numbers in the grassy lowland plains. The Cape mountain zebra of South Africa is the smallest zebra, standing about 4 ft 1.
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The Cape mountain zebra has a dewlap under the lower jaw, which other zebras do not have. Herds of the common zebra readily mix with herds of wildebeest, but Cape mountain zebras tend to keep apart from other animals. It stands about 5 ft 1.
Its stripes are very narrow, do not cross over the lower back as they do in the Cape mountain zebra.
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Instead, only the mother and foals remain together, while the males and the young females drift off. Individual stallions have remarkably large breeding territories, and any female found within the territory belongs to the male. A stallion will tolerate other males in his territory only if they do not try to mate with the mares. The recently extinct zebra-like quagga E. The last quagga died in an Amsterdam zoo in Equid —Any member of family Equidae, including horses, zebras, and asses.
Gestation —The period of carrying developing off spring in the uterus after conception; pregnancy.
The populations of the common zebra are high, especially in the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania and Kenya, where zebras run with the huge wildebeest herds on their annual migrations.
Facts on File, Zebras, Asses and Horses. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.