The Zebra has the most distinctive coat of all willdife!
Zebras exist in a harem structure. The dominant male will establish a territory and then proceed to attract females. A male zebra can have between four to seven “wives” and a consequent hierarchy is created between the females. There are three subspecies of zebra: the Grevy’s, the mountain, and the one found at Inverdoorn, the Burchell’s. The latter is sometimes referred to as the Plain’s zebra, and this sub-species has brown “shadow” stripes between the black and white.
Each zebra is unique, because no two coats are identical. A popular wildlife guessing game is whether the zebra is black with white stripes or white with black stripes. The answer is black, because that is the colour of the embryo. Their stripes are said to assist in camouflaging them from predators, but this theory has been disputed.
Lions are one of their natural predators, but these animals are capable of killing them with a kick far more powerful than that of a horse’s. The herd will also come to the defense of an attacked zebra, circling it in order to drive away the threat.
These distinctive animals are herbivorous grazers, feeding mostly on grass. When a foal is born, the mother will keep all other zebras away, until it learns to recognise her by sight, sound and smell – this is referred to as imprinting. The foals become close to their fathers as well, but leave the herd when they are between one and four years old to join a bachelor group of males. When they are strong enough, they head their own family.