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Plains zebra

By Eleanor Warren-Thomas

Plains zebra



Plains zebra

Scientific Name: Equus quagga burchellii

NOT A RAINFOREST SPECIES


Plains Zebra live in a wide range in Africa, from Ethiopia, all the way down to South Africa. You can see a map of their distribution here. They live in savanna, shrubland and grassland habitats, and can live from sea level, all the way up to 4,300m above sea level on Mount Kenya!

Plains Zebra live in groups with one male and a group of females. Males that aren't old enough to have their own group of females to mate with, or who have lost their group of females to another male, tend to group together into 'bachelor' groups. These groups come together when it is time to migrate, for safety. Within the group there is a hierarchy, or an order of importance, with one mare (female zebra) being highest up, and always walking in front of the herd.

Did you know there are three zebra species? The Plains Zebra is the most common species of zebra and is listed as 'Least Concern' on the IUCN Red List (a list of endangered animals). This means that the species is doing well, it is widespread, and has good-sized populations. However, we must be careful that the species doesn't become endangered.

Zebras mostly feed on a grass, and they have a special digestive system to digest it efficiently. They go on a long migration every rainy season, in order to find fresh grass that grows when the rain fall - they move across the Serengeti. They go through savanna, short and tall grassland, shrubland and open woodland. However, during the dry season, they can't move more than about 20 miles from a water hole, as they need to drink regularly.

Zebras bond with each other by grooming one another - you can see a picture of this here. Mother zebras are the sole caretakers of their foals, and it is very important that the baby zebra learns to recognize its mother. For a few days after it is born, the mother keeps all other zebras away from the baby, to make sure that the baby learns her smell, stripe pattern and voice. This means that the foal can find her in the herd should it wander off.

Living in family groups has benefits for zebras, as it means there are more eyes to look out for predators, and the male stallion fends off other males that may want to mate with his females.

There are many animals that prey on zebras: lions, spotted hyaenas, Nile crocodile, wild dogs, cheetah and leopard. This means that zebras are always on the lookout for predators, and they help defend each other when under attack. You can see an exciting video of a mother zebra chasing away a cheetah here

You can see lots more pictures and some videos of Plains Zebra here


Plains zebra (Equus quagga burchellii)

(Tanzania)


Pair of plains zebra

(Kenya)


Zebra among scrub trees

(Tanzania)


Maasai zebra (Equus quagga burchellii)

(Tanzania)


Pair of plains zebra

(Kenya)


A foal; as a baby zebra is known

(Kenya)


Plains zebra

(Kenya)


Burchell's zebra (Equus quagga burchellii)

(Tanzania)


Plains zebra (Equus quagga)

(Tanzania)


Plains zebra

(Kenya)


Zebras

(Tanzania)


A young zebra is named a foal

(Kenya)





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Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
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