Zebras exist in a harem structure. The dominant male will establish a territory and thenceforth attract the females. A male zebra can have between four to seven "wives" and a consequent hierarchy is created between the females.
One of the most popular debates, and a particularly tongue-in-cheek argument in South Africa, is whether the zebra is black with white stripes or white with black stripes. The answer is the former. Furthermore, each zebra is unique as no two coats are identical – quite like human fingerprints – and their coats assist in camouflaging them from predators. Lions are one of their natural predators, but zebra are capable of killing them with a powerful kick. The herd will also come to the defense of an attacked zebra, circling it in order to drive away the threat. Hyenas are another common predator.
Zebras are grazers, feeding mostly on grass. When a foal is born, the mother will keep all other zebras away from it, until it learns to recognise her by sight, sound and smell. The foals also become close to their fathers, but leave the herd when they are between one and four to join a bachelor group of males until they are strong enough to head their own family.
Zebras (/ˈzɛbrə/ zeb-rə or /ˈziːbrə/ zee-brə) are several species of African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated.
There are three species of zebras: the plains zebra, the Grévy's zebra and the mountain zebra. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grevy's zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus. The latter resembles an ass, to which it is closely related, while the former two are more horse-like. All three belong to the genus Equus, along with other living equids.
The unique stripes of zebras make these among the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills. However, various anthropogenic factors have had a severe impact on zebra populations, in particular hunting for skins and habitat destruction. Grevy's zebra and the mountain zebra are endangered. While plains zebras are much more plentiful, one subspecies, the quagga, became extinct in the late 19th century, though there is currently a project, called the Quagga Project, that aims to breed zebras that are phenotypically similar to the quagga in a process called breeding back.
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