Last Reviewed and Updated on July 3, 2022
Due to their mesmerizing stripes, zebras are one of the most recognized animals on our planet. You may think you know everything that is interesting about zebras, but we know you will find a few facts about zebras you probably didn’t know yet! These facts are here to help you become a walking encyclopedia on these well-loved animals!
1. There are 3 living species of zebras
The three living species are the Mountain zebra, the Plains zebra, and the Grévy’s zebra. All three species can only be found in Africa in the wild.
2. Each zebra has a unique pattern
Much like fingerprints in humans, no zebra stripe pattern is alike. There are also differences in stripe appearance between species.
The Grévy’s zebra had the narrowest stripes. Plains zebra has broader stripes. Lastly, the Mountain zebra has stripes with a width that is somewhere in between the previous two species.
3. When threatened they will flee, but can also kick and bite
Their main predators are lions and as a first means of defense, a zebra will flee when it is threatened.
Now here is where this becomes one of the most interesting facts about zebras. They can also bite them or kick their predators. There are quite a few recorded deaths of lions, that were caused by a zebra’s kick in the head.
4. Male zebras are called stallions, female mares and young ones are foals
Zebra’s share these names with one of their closest relatives, the horses.
5. They are the only living equine that isn’t domesticated
Equine is a family consisting of different species of horses, donkeys, and zebras. While donkeys and horses have been domesticated, zebras never were.
There are many possible reasons why they never were domesticated, from their aggressive nature to zebras being more exposed to predators and having a stronger flight or fight response than other equines. Their strong kick, which can kill a lion also doesn’t make them people-friendly.
It is possible to tame individual zebras and make them tolerate and be friendly to humans. They wouldn’t make good work animals though, their backs aren’t as strong as that of a donkey or a horse, and wouldn’t be able to successfully carry cargo. Which in itself isn’t a bad thing.
6. Zebras can be bred with horses and donkeys
In general, an offspring of a zebra and another equine is called a zebroid. But there are more specific names for specific combinations. Most commonly a female zebra is used when breeding.
Zonkies are zebra donkey hybrids, but other names such as zenkey, zebrass, or zedonk are alos used. If you breed a male zebra with a female donkey you get a donkra. These hybrids are very rare and are sterile.
Zorse is a hybrid between a male horse and a female zebra. A much rarer hybrid between a male zebra and a female horse is called a hebra, horsebra, zebret, zebrinny or zebra hinny. The horse and zebra hybrids are infertile as well.
While ponies are horses, a hybrid between a pony and a zebra has its own name. It’s a zony.
7. Their main predators are lions
They have a few predators but the main ones are lions.
Hyenas, wild dogs, and cheetahs are some of their other natural predators. While zebras are near water, Nile crocodiles pose a threat as well.
8. Young excess males form bachelor groups
This is observed with all zebra species. Young mature males that aren’t ready to establish their won harems group with other males. The rules of these groups are different between species, the mountain zebra groups may also include young female zebras as well as old male zebras.
9. Grévy’s zebras have kindergartens
The group takes care of their young. A female zebra can go have a drink of water carefree as her offspring will be watched over while she does so. One of the sweetest facts about zebras? We think so!
10. A group of zebras is called a dazzle
A dazzle oz zebras. Now if this isn’t a magical name we don’t know what is.
Alternative names are also zeal and a heard.
11. They can sleep while standing
They are capable of sleeping both standing and laying down. Sleeping while standing makes it easier for zebras to escape danger if need be.
12. They are herbivores and spend most of their day grazing food
They spend the majority of the day eating, they will eat both during the day and night.
Grass accounts for about 90% of the food they eat, preferably fresh and green but if need be they will also eat old dry grass. They will also eat leaves, shrubs, twigs, and bark.
13. Zebra herds can have over 1000 members
Dazzles of zebras can reach impressive numbers. Most of the time the groups have a lot fewer members with up to 20 animals in a group.
14. Some zebras use giraffes to detect danger
We’re concluding this list of facts about zebras with a fascinating one. Giraffes are very good at spotting danger, their great vision and height give them a great advantage. Some zebras have learned to read the body language of giraffes, picking up on signs when a giraffe is sensing danger.