In fact, zebras are not just «striped horses», they are completely different animals, although, of course, they are related to horses. The debate about why, as a result of evolutionary processes, the color of zebras became black and white is still ongoing, although it is already reliably known that, at a minimum, this saves them from tsetse flies, which suffer from a terrible sleeping sickness. These flies simply do not see zebras, not perceiving the flickering of black and white stripes with their organs of vision. That is why locals in many African countries are engaged in breeding and crossing zebras with horses, since the striped offspring have the best protection against tse-tse flies.
Interesting facts about zebras
- Zebras have a very developed sense of family. Some individuals can form alliances for life. And despite the fact that there can be a thousand heads in the herd, they are all divided into small families.
- The average life expectancy of zebras is 25 years, but in captivity they can live up to 35-40.
- When all the zebras in the herd are resting, several of them invariably stand guard in order to warn all relatives of the approaching danger in case of emergency.
- A zebra family is always headed by one stallion – the leader of the herd.
- They have a common ancestor with horses and donkeys. These species separated about 4.5 million years ago.
- In search of food, a herd can travel 50 kilometers, but after feeding, zebras always return to their territories.
- After birth, the foal immediately tries to stand on his feet, and in an hour he can run at a gallop.
- In arid areas, small groups of zebras can form larger groups and migrate together in search of food. Large flocks of zebras can cover distances of 800 kilometers per year during migrations.
- There are three types of zebras in the world, and, despite their external similarity, they are no closer genetically to each other than to ordinary horses (interesting facts about horses).
- Zebras are very dependent on water, so they prefer not to move far from water bodies, to which they must come to drink at least once a day.
- Wild zebras are difficult to tame, but a foal, brought up among people from childhood, can be tamed.
- Male zebras have sharp fangs that females lack. Males use them during fights with rivals.
- Due to their sharp eyesight and excellent memory, zebras easily recognize each other by the pattern of stripes on the skin.
- Actually, a zebra is black with white stripes, and not vice versa.
- The female brings her offspring away from the family group, introducing the family to her new member only after three days. This is done so that the baby has time to remember the smell, voice and color of the mother.
- Each zebra has a unique striped pattern on the body, like, for example, the stripes on the skin of a tiger (interesting facts about tigers).
- It is the duty of the oldest mare in the herd to lead the whole herd as they move from place to place, and to make sure that the family does not get too far from the water.
- Two of the three species of zebra are listed as critically endangered by the International Red Book.
- These animals roll on the ground in the dust to get rid of parasitic insects.
- Ancient people repeatedly tried to domesticate zebras, but this was not crowned with much success.
- Due to the fact that livestock eat grass in pastures, wildlife suffers greatly. Zebras cannot compete with the growing number of livestock, and their territories are also occupied by farmers who grow crops.
- The stomach of a zebra is able to digest even the most coarse plant foods, of little use to other herbivores.
- When attacked by predators, zebras hide cubs in the center of the herd.
- The only continent where zebras are found in the wild is Africa (interesting facts about Africa).
- Little foals are not born with black stripes, as in adults, but with tan.
- With the help of a special project, scientists from South Africa are trying to restore the extinct subspecies of the zebra – the quagga.
- Zebras have poor eyesight, so they prefer to graze among other herbivores in order to hear the danger signal from them.
- Most often, zebras sleep standing up like horses.
- Zebras are very shy, even in zoos it is difficult to get close to their enclosure, as animals immediately run away.
- A zebra is able to run at a speed of 50 km/h.
- Female zebras are monogamous, they follow their male throughout their lives. But males always have a harem of females who are not related to each other.
- Zebra alliances are for life. It can burst in the event of the death of the leader or expulsion by another male.
- Zebras have black skin under their fur, so many argue that zebras have white stripes on a black background.
- In Ancient Rome Zebras were trained to learn how to pull cards in a circus.
- Zebra pregnancy lasts longer than a human’s – about 12 months.