Unusual features/differences from similar
The stripes on
the flanks run on to the belly whereas the belly is white with a single stripe along the middle in
mountain zebra. Stripes fade out on lower legs but are distinctly striped all the way down in
mountain zebra. Stripes on the rump run diagonally and lengthways but
mountain zebra. On the rump there are yellowish shadow stripes in the middle of the white
stripes whereas the stripes on the mountain
zebra's rump are solid. Like human fingerprints and irises, each individual has a unique stripe
Visible Male/Female Differences
Males are a little larger than females. Both sexes have
a black stripe running vertically between their hind legs;
in the males it is narrow and wide in the females. Females have one pair of nipples between their hind legs. Here
is a stallion on the left and a mare on the right
Habitat and Distribution
Open woodland, scrub and grassland. Dependent on water and rarely moves more
than 12km from it. Very widely translocated.
Unselective bulk feeders. Zebras are less sensitive to food quality than other large
herbivores and can maintain good condition on very poor veld.
Single foals weighing 30-35 kg are born at any time
of year after a gestation of 360-390 days. Foals can stand after about 10
minutes, walk after half an hour and can run after an hour. Foals start eating grass within
a few days and are weaned at 11 months. Lions and spotted
hyenas take adult zebras; foals are
taken by lions, spotted hyenas, leopards and
cheetahs. Burchells zebras will stand
and fight wild dogs.
Behavior and Habits
Active in the cooler early morning and late
afternoon. Drinks at least once a day and prefers clean water.
When the water is muddy Burchells zebra may scrape a hole into which clean water
can seeps or they my try to sip cleaner
water from the surface. Their home ranges cover 110-220 square km.
Stallions fight viciously for control of females. If
males do not have a breeding herd they join bachelor herds which has hierarchy
that based on age. Bonds are maintained by mutual grooming. Submission is
communicated by lowering of the
head and holding
the ears back while making chewing movements. Dominance and threats are
communicated by holding
the head high with ears cocked forward or turned inwards and back, baring the teeth, and
chasing. If threatened by predators, herds run in bunches at a top speed is 55
The alarm call is a high-pitched, repeated two-syllable 'kwa-hi'. The sound
is typical of the African bushveld and the colloquial name "quagga"
is derived from it.
Dung and Field sign
The dung is kidney-shaped lumps, 5 cm or more across, characteristically
with a crack across the middle, often loosely stuck together. Areas where dust
baths have been taken.