Zebras came to call…Interesting zebra facts…A circle among the stripes…Photos…

Not all wildlife requires a daily supply of water, but the zebra does, never staying further away than 10 meters from a safe water supply, Picky drinkers, they taste the chlorinated pool water, only taking a sip, detecting the chemicals.

Nothing can compare to the appearance of multiple visitors of a species. The excitement of watching them approach our veranda is indescribable. This isn’t to say that we don’t enjoy the “onesies” although it appears that a single animal is more hesitant to approach than several, based on “safety in numbers.” 

Zebras are fascinating but may be taken for granted in the wild for those frequently in their presence. Finding animal behavior interesting to us, having the opportunity to observe them has been more rewarding than we could have imagined.

When we first arrived, we noticed that zebras have a dark circular patch on the inner forelegs which are designed to accommodate the sharp end of the hoof when lying down. The zebra sleeps around 7 hours a night, lying down and these circular patches provide protection for their legs from injury when they’re at rest.

Please click this link for more interesting zebra facts.

Having never been so close to zebras in the past, we were curious as to these black spots on the interior of their front legs.
When we first arrived in Marloth Park, over one month ago, we noticed the circular spots on every zebra, assuming they certainly had a purpose. After researching online, we were pleased to see how these spots protect the zebras from injuring themselves at rest.  
The zebra’s unique stripes are comparable to an individual’s unique fingerprint. The black spots, protecting the legs from injury when at rest are equally as unique.
When this small herd of zebras arrived yesterday, we couldn’t have been happier to see them. Their playful personalities and obvious acceptance of humans in their terrain, make them fun to watch and highly welcomed visitors to homes in Marloth Park.
The mineral lick has been appealing to the zebras and Kudu, so far. Warthogs and other smaller animals have little interest in it.
It’s evident they are used to being around humans. Like many other wildlife, they are quick to run off if frightened by a loud noise or sudden movement. They don’t hesitate to come right up to the railing on our veranda being vocal and making overt motions indicating they are looking for attention and food.
Waiting their turn for a sip of water from the pool, occasionally kicking each other for dominance. All of the zebra visitors we’ve had thus far have been males.
“My turn!”
We don’t hesitate to throw a few handsful of the nutritional pellets, approved by the game reserve rangers, are suitable snacks for the wildlife. With the increased tourist population in Marloth Park during the holidays, it’s evident they’ve been fed, nudging at us for food.
They couldn’t be more adorable.
Hopefully, the tourists have been sensitive in understanding that nature provides an ample food supply during the rainy summer month, lush vegetation for their easy foraging. Any foods other than the mineral licks, fresh vegetation, and pellets aren’t doing the animals a favor. Nature provides for the general diet.
The Zebras seem to like munching on the greenery around this little tree. We’ve learned that wildlife doesn’t graze an area with the intent to “clean it out.” Instead, their instincts guide them to forage in an area for a short period and then move on to another area. Doing so, provides a continuous supply of food, especially during these rainy summer months. In the sparse winter months, the Zebras will dig up the roots of vegetation.
Yesterday, we noticed back leg kicks flying at one another when vying for a spot at the mineral lick or a drink from the pool. Moments later, they’re playing with one another, seeming to hug and groom each other. Watching them is mesmerizing. 
When at last they wander away with the herd intact, we feel grateful they’ve stopped to visit, hoping to see them again in our remaining 56 days in Marloth Park. How quickly the time flies when we’re having fun!

Note:  Typically, the holiday tourists begin leaving the area by January 10th at which point we’ll begin visiting some of the sites in the area. All the sites we’d like to visit are still swarming with tourists. 

Also, it was one year ago today that we left the US (although we did return to various ports in Florida to wait to change ships to continue on our multiple cruises). Click here for the post from the day we left on January 3, 2013, writing about it on January 4, 2013.

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