19 Cool Facts about Zebras

Zebras are native to the African Jungles. You will find them in the East African nations of Tanzania and Kenya as well as the southern African countries such as Namibia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The beasts fall in the same family (equidae) as horses, donkeys and mules. Of the animals in this group, zebras are the most attractive. They sport black and white stripes.

Zebras are herbivores and among their predators include the lions, leopards and cheetahs. Below are some additional cool facts about zebras. Take a look.

The Camouflage Error

No. The white bands of white and black on a zebra are not used for camouflage. According to a study by Tim Caro, a biologist with the University of California, it is more likely that the stripes evolved on the zebras as a way of discouraging bits from parasites such as horsefly.

Long Tails

Most zebras have a tail as long as 18-inches, an equivalent of half a meter. The tail is used to whisk off the flies that are bound to be many in the zebra’s habitats because of dead animals as well as animal faeces.

Zebra Crossing

The human road crossings, commonly referred to as “zebra-crossing” are named after the herbivore’s stripes of white and black.

They are Sleepwalkers

All zebras sleep while standing. It is an adaptation that is probably there to ensure that they are not caught off-guard by a predator. The zebras will only sleep walk while in the safety of the herd.

zibra one

The ears can tell you the mood

Flattened ears mean trouble while raised ears mean openness. The way the ears are placed relative to the rest of the bod can tell you the mood that the zebra is currently in.

Zebras Can Be Movie Stars

A Zebra starred in an animated Madagascan Movie in 2005. His name was Marty.

The uniqueness of the stripes

Just like humans have fingerprints, Zebra’s stripes are unique to individual animal. You can collect a database of the stripes of the various zebras worldwide and thus have a unique identifier for all of them.

Zebra Species

There are 3 major zebra species namely; the Plains, the Mountains and the Grevy’s. The Plains are the most common and are further classified into 6 subspecies while the Mountain is divided into two subspecies.

The following is the Zebra’s Taxonomy;

Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Infrakingdom Deuterostomia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Subclass Theria
Infraclass Eutheria
Order Perissodactyla
Family Equidae
Genus Equus



Botanical Name English Name
Equus grevyi Grevy’s zebra
Equus hartmannae Hartmann’s zebra or Hartmann’s mountain zebra
Equus zebra Cape mountain zebra or Mountain zebra
Equus quagga Plains zebra


Subspecies of plains zebra

Botanical Name English Name
Equus quagga boehmi Grant’s zebra
Equus quagga borensis Half-maned zebra
Equus quagga burchellii Zululand zebra or Damara zebra or Burchell’s zebra or Bontequagga
Equus quagga chapmani Chapman’s zebra
Equus quagga crawshayi Crawshay’s zebra
Equus quagga Quagga; extinct



Some people refer to zebras as the “speed demons” as they can reach 65 kilometers per hour at top speeds when galloping in the plains. This is more speed than most predators can achieve, including lions. Their young ones (foals), can achieve as much speed a few hours after birth.

Stripy Coat

The body is adapted to lose more than 70% of it heat. Remember the animal lives under the heavy African sun. It reflects back the heat during the day and retains the heat during the night.

Social Lives

The uniquely patterned stripes of the zebras help the foals to pick out their mothers from the herd. The foals also use scent or call reach their mothers. The Grevy’s zebras are open while their Mountain and Plains counterparts are more closely knot. They live in harems of 6 breeding females and one dominant male. The females in the harems have a pecking. The zebras are so close that incase a member of their family is attacked by a predator, they will circle the predator and attempt to scare it away with hooves and teeth.

Number’s Safety

To ensure they can scare away the predators, zebras always stick together in large herds. Sometimes, they even mix with other herbivores such as wildebeests as this increases the number of ears and eyes on the lookout for the predator. A large herd also gives hundreds of targets, making it harder for the predator to single out the animal to prey on.

1800-Mile Migration

One of the 7 wonders of the world is to be found in the savannah grasslands of East Africa. Here, you will can see 1 million zebras mixed with wildebeests on their 1800-mile migration from Kenya’s Maasai Mara to Tanzania’s Serengeti and back. In the migration are other herbivores such as antelopes who have to cross the perilous Mara River where African crocodiles waylay them. The animals migrate in search of pastures.

The Hippotigris

Also known as the horse-tigers, the Grevy’s zebra were trained by ancient Roman soldiers to pull chariots during the circuses. Imagine the spectacle…!

The Zigzag Gallop

The zebras run in a zigzag gallop when being chased by the predator. This makes it more difficult for the predator to target a single animal.

Mystical Symbol

The ancient cultures of Native America referred to the zebra as a nature’s symbol of sureness path and balance. They are mystical beings.

“Punda Milia” The Swahili Name for Zebra

Since the zebra are native to East Africa, they have been named “Punda” meaning donkey and “milia” meaning with stripes – a donkey with stripes.

Burchelli’s Ass

There is a zebra species referred to as “Asinus Burchelli”. The name arose after William John Burchell and his biologist friend John Edward Gray fought over specimens they had extracted from British Museum but the specimens died. John Edward Gray would get one back at John by referring to the dead specimen as “Burchelli’s Ass”, which can be translated into “Burchelli’s Ass”.

They are Orange Blind

Zebras cannot see color orange.