Earn Your Stripes! It’s International Zebra Day!
In honor of International Zebra Day, Safari Ltd is here to provide you with some interesting facts about these striped members of the horse family. Use them to impress your friends and share your love for zebras!
- Zebras live in Africa, and are found in many different habitats, including savannas, mountains, woodlands and hills. They are known for their stripes, which are unique to every individual, like a fingerprint!
- Are zebras black with white stripes, or white with black stripes? This confounding question actually has a surprising answer! It was originally believed that zebras were white underneath with black striping, due to some types of zebras having white underbellies. However, recent evidence confirms they start out black, and the white coloration develops early, while the baby zebra is still in its mother’s womb.
- Why do zebras have stripes? Many theories exist, and nobody is sure exactly which one is right. One theory is that the stripes help them hide in tall grass. Another is that it may confuse predators when a group of zebras is together, since it can be difficult to tell where one ends and another begins. It is believed by some scientists that zebras may use the stripes to identify each other and tell one zebra from another, while others believe that the arrangement of stripes may help keep them cool or keep away painful biting flies.
|Wild Safari Zebra Figure||Wild Safari Zebra Foal Figure|
- As we mentioned, zebras are members of the horse family. They belong to the genus Equus, just like the domesticated horse and donkey! There have been some attempts to tame and domesticate zebras, but their unpredictable nature makes this difficult. However, in 1907, a doctor in Kenya named Rosendo Ribeiro would ride a tame zebra to make house calls for his patients!
- There are three species of zebra: The Plain’s Zebra, the Mountain Zebra, and the Grevy’s Zebra. The different types can be told apart based on their stripes: Grevy’s Zebra has narrower, tightly packed stripes than the other two species. Plains Zebras have wide stripes, while Mountain Zebras have narrower stripes that do not continue onto their underbelly, which is white.
|Wonderful Wildlife Zebra Figure||Good Luck Minis Zebras|
- There are many subspecies of Plains and Mountain Zebra, and scientists don’t fully understand exactly how many there may be. Currently, six living subspecies of Plains Zebra and two species of Mountain Zebra are recognized. One Plains Zebra subspecies, the Quagga, went extinct in the late 1800s due to overhunting. This zebra subspecies was only striped on its front half, with a rear half that more closely resembled a horse.
- There are many African folk tales that tell the fictional story of how zebras got their stripes. In one story, after fighting with a baboon, a white horse fell into a fire which left scorch marks, which became the animal’s characteristic black stripes.
Well, there you have it, SafariFans. Now go forth and share your newfound knowledge of zebras with the world!