The Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) is the most common of the three Zebra species. The other two, the smaller Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra) and the larger Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi) are on the endangered species list. All images here are of Plains Zebra, taken on Kenya's Masai Mara & Olare Orok Conservancy.
The 'Equus' geneology tells us that the Zebra is related to the Horse (and therefore, Mule), so, the 'Striped Horse' is a good description of the animal most people can identify! Unlike the Horse, the Zebra is not easily domesticated - although Lord Rothschild once had a famous carriage, pulled by 4 Zebra!
The Zebra male usually has a harem of around 6 females, although larger herds are also common. An heirarchy exists amongst the herd, usually with the male at the top of the heirarchy. If herds come together, the females from each herd stick together, to avoid losing one another. The lead mare takes the front position, with the other females following, in their rank within the heirarchy of their herd. The stallion Zebra follows, keeping an eye on his females and calling for any that go astray. This behaviour is also seen at watering holes, with the lead mare going to drink first. For the time spent with their family group, foals attain the same rank as their mothers, gaining the same priority to food and drink.
Males without harems collect together in batchelor groups and will either challenge a male with a harem, or collect young fillies as they grow older and leave their family group. It is the first to join the group that take the lead in the new heirarchy.
Male Zebra become dedicated leaders and fathers, going to great lengths to protect his family. He slows the pace of the herd, when there are youngsters and shields his females from other males. By belonging to a group, the Zebra's stripes, combined in a herd, serve to disillusion predators, because it is very much more difficult to make out just one animal.
Zebras, unlike Horses, are able to stand and suckle immediately after birth.
Keywords:animal, kenya, plains zebra, wildlife, zebra, zebra facts