Emu9th August 2020
Cheetah9th August 2020
Zebras are equines which means they are in the same family as horses, so they share a common ancestor from millions of years ago.
We are not sure where the word zebra comes from, there were older words for them in Latin ‘equiferus’ but in the 1600s in Spain and Italy the word ‘zebra’ came out.
There are three distinct species of zebra: the mountain zebra, the plains zebra, and Grévy’s zebra. Each of these have their own subspecies however, one of these – the quagga – became extinct over 100 years ago.
Zebras are very similar to all of the horse family in a number of ways. Long faces, long necks, a tail, and thin legs with hooves at the end. It does have some differences however, their back legs are shorter than their front legs, and their skulls have some subtle differences.
The biggest defining feature of the zebra is of course their stripes. Zebras stripes can actually be split in two, as the front half of their body has vertical stripes (top to bottom) and back half has horizontal stripes (left to right).
A zebras stripes might seem interesting and distinct to us humans, but it actually helps them camouflage. The stripes can confuse predators as it is difficult to tell the real outline of the zebra, especially at night.
Zebras graze on gasses and move around often to different spots that they remember has water. They travel in a herd or sometimes in family groups.
The different zebra species are at different stages of conservation. Plains zebras are near threatened, mountain zebras are vulnerable, and Grévy’s zebras are endangered.
Luckily conservation efforts and protected areas of lands have now been established to help the species recover.