Equus burchellii and grevyi - The Zebra

The Zebra belongs to the horse family. Its distinguishing marks are its unique black stripes, akin to the fingerprints on humans. One of nature's great mysteries is why the Zebra has stripes. One theory is that the stripes help the zebra cool down. On hot days the black stripes get a lot hotter than the white area of the zebra and under the black stripes there are special layers of fat for protection. Hot air then rises off the black stripes forcing colder air down around the white areas thus cooling the zebra down. This, however is just a theory.

Did you know? The Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock was formed to conserve the last remaining population of the Cape mountain zebra.

The stripes are also used as camouflage to confuse predators when zebras huddle in great numbers or mingle with herds of antelopes. The Zebra enjoys grazing the plains and savannahs during the day and sleeping during the night roaming in groups with one or two members acting as lookouts during the night.


Burchell's Zebra - Equus burchellii
Grevy's Zebra - Equus grevyi.


Burchell's Zebra stands 45 to 55 inches at the shoulder.
Grevy's Zebra stands 50 to 60 inches at the shoulder.


Burchell's Zebra weighs 485 to 550 pounds.
Grevy's Zebra weighs 770 to 990 pounds.


Woodlands and open plains. Burchell's zebras inhabit savannas, from treeless grasslands to open woodlands; they sometimes occur in tens of thousands in migratory herds on the Serengeti plains. Grevy's zebras are now mainly restricted to parts of northern Kenya. Although they are adapted to semi-arid conditions and require less water than other zebra species, these zebras compete with domestic livestock for water and have suffered heavy poaching for their meat and skins.


One of South Africa’s most commonly sighted species, the zebra is just lovely to see in the wild. Apart from the Kruger National Park, they can also be found at the Addo Elephant National Park (an hour from Port Elizabeth and two hours from East London), Bontebok National Park (on the Breede River, just under three hours from Cape Town), and the Botlierskop Game Reserve, which is just 25 minutes inland of Mossel Bay on the Garden Route.

Diet - Herbivore

Zebra are herbivores and avid grazers. Both Burchell's and Grevy's zebras are in constant search of green pastures. In the dry season, they can live on coarse, dry grass only if they are within a short distance of water holes.


Zebras lives in herds. Males are attached to their territory whilst the females are attached to their offspring. Little dominance is displayed within the herd except for mating rights a male might display over a female. When there are no females aroud, the male zebras cohabit in a friendly manner.


Single young born any time of the year.


The gestation period is 13 months.


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