The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Interesting facts about Zebra's

Burchell's Zebra drinking at a waterhole

Burchell's Zebra

Photo © Steven Herbert

Here are some interesting facts about zebras

  • There are 3 species of zebra in the world - the Grevy's Zebra, the Plains or Burchell's Zebra and the Mountain Zebra. In South Africa we have the Burchell's and Mountain Zebras.
  • Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern!
  • The black and white stripes are thought to be a deterrant to biting flies.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans used to call the zebra the "hippotigris" which translates to "horse tiger."
  • A herd of zebras can be referred to as a dazzle of zebras.
  • The front legs are longer than the hind legs.
  • Zebra foals have brown stripes which turn black.
  • Their main food is grass but they sometimes eat bark, fruit and roots.
  • The Burchell's Zebra lives in small herds led by a stallion. The stallions that do not have their own harem live in a bachelor herd.
  • Zebras are mainly preyed upon by lions and crocodiles. They may also be hunted by Wild Dogs, Leopards and Cheetahs.
  • They defend themselves by kicking and biting.
  • Female zebras give birth to 1 foal after a gestation period of a year.
  • A foal will suckle from its mother for around 11 months although they are able to eat grass within a week.
Cape Mountain Zebra

Cape Mountain Zebra

Photo © Johan van Zyl


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References and further reading

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 44

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 158

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 9

Caravan & Outdoor Life - Issue 622 - Author: - Year Published: - Page: 58

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 170

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 157

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1997 - Page: 74

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 2001 - Page: 170

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 104

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 182

Kruger National Park, Visitor's Map - Author: - Year Published: 1996 - Page: 4

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 143

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillier - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 67

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Year Published: 1980 - Page: 78

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 166

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 5

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 11

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 23

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 417

Sasol First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Year Published: 2003 - Page: 41

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 137

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1996 - Page: 132

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 216

List of South African Mammals

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