Almost daily, warthogs, bushbucks, kudus, mongoose, francolins and other birds stop by for a visit. However, zebras are less frequent visitors. Since arriving here over 3½ months ago, zebras have only graced us with their presence on two occasions. Yesterday, was one of those occasions and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.
From this site, here are 25 amazing facts about zebras:
“Zebras are one of the many beautiful creatures inhabiting Africa. Many people know them for their iconic stripes and the never ending riddle about them being black with white stripes, or white with black stripes.
Here are a handful of facts you might or might not know about these striped horses.
- The zebra is actually mostly covered in white and striped with black or dark brown stripes, but underneath their coat is black skin.
- There are different types of zebra, each with a different stripe pattern. The mountain zebra normally has vertical stripes on its neck and across its torso while horizontal strips cover their legs.
- Zebras run in a zig-zag pattern when being chased by a predator making it more difficult for the predator to run after them.
- The pattern of a zebras stripes is different for each individual zebra, making them each as unique snowflakes!
- The black & white striped pattern of their coats is a good bug repellant, keeping horseflies and other bloodsuckers at bay.
- A group of zebras is called a ‘zeal” or “dazzle.”
- The Native American culture refers to the zebra as a symbol of balance and sureness of the path.
- The Swahili name for the zebra is ‘Punda Milia’.
- Romans used Grévy’s zebras to pull two wheeled carts for their circuses.
- In Roman Circuses the zebra was usually called a ‘Tiger-Horse’ or a ‘Horse-Tiger’.
- When faced by predators, zebras will form a semi-circle and bit, nip or attack the predators if they come too close to them. They will also encircle an injured family member to protect it from further attack if the need arises.
- A mother zebra will keep her foal away from all other zebras for two or three days until the foal can recognize her scent, voice, and appearance.
- Zebras form hierarchies with a Stallion (male) in the lead, followed by his Harem (group of females) behind him.
- When traveling with his harem, the stallion will lead them with his head low and his ears laid back.
- Zebra’s bunch together to confuse colorblind predators, such as lions, which mistake the pattern as grass.
- Zebras are one of the few mammals that we believe can see in color.
- Zebras are actually pretty short and can be 3.5-5 feet tall.
- The Grévy’s zebra is named after Jules Grévy, president of France (in 1882) who received a zebra as a present from the emperor of Abyssinia.
- Another name for Grévy’s Zebras are Imperial Zebras.
- A zebra can run up to 65 km/h or 40 mph.
- To sleep, generally zebras don’t lie down – instead they usually sleep standing up.
- Zebras can rotate their ears in almost any direction; this ability is used to communicate their mood with other zebras.
- Zebras have one toe on each foot.
- Zebras cannot see the color orange.
- A species of zebra are called ‘Asinus Burchelli’ after a conflict between William John Burchell and John Edward Gray sparked. Burchell brought specimens from Africa to The British Museum and the specimens died. Gray felt the need to Embarrass Burchell because of the incident; the name means “Burchelli’s Ass”.”
We’ve researched a number of facts about zebras over the years and each source provides new and interesting information about these stunning animals.
The sounds of their hooves pounding on the ground, the whinnying amongst themselves over pellets and jockeying for position in the garden leaves us smiling over their demeanor, rambunctious and determined. Each time we drive on Olifant Road, the only paved road in Marloth Park, we are in awe, when spotting them at the side of the road or crossing.
We seldom see a solitary zebra. They are social animals who travel together covering many kilometers in a single day. Even here in Marloth Park, which is only 3000 hectares, 6.7 square miles, they find plenty of space to wander, whether it’s in the parklands or in the sparsely occupied residential areas, zebras may be found running fast together, or casually grazing on the grass and vegetation.
Residents of Marloth Park certainly appreciate the zebras offering them carrots, apples and pellets when they stop by for a visit.
At this point, we haven’t been offering apples and carrots, but once the winter comes, when the vegetation is sparse, we’ll begin offering these to our friendly visitors.
Today, we’ll be working on some research for the future and afterward head over to Louise and Danie‘s Info Centre for a short visit. The school holiday period has ended and now, they have more time for a little social interaction. It will be good to see them once again.
If all goes as planned over the next 24 hours, we’ll be off to Kruger National Park tomorrow for a much desired self drive, hopefully returning with many good photos to share here.
Photo from one year ago today, May 3 2020:
|A fish eagle, one of the most prolific eagles in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.|