October 28, 2021
Zebra (subgenus Hippotigris, also known as striped horse) is an animal from Africa known for its black-and-white striped body. There are three extant species: the grévy zebra (Equus grevyi), the plains zebra (E. quagga), and the mountain zebra (E. zebra). Zebras are part of the genus Equus as are horses and donkeys. All three are the remaining groups of the Equidae family. Each individual zebra has a distinctive mottled pattern. There are several theories regarding the function of the stripes, and the theory most supported by evidence is as protection from fly bites. Zebras inhabit eastern and southern Africa, and can be found in a wide variety of habitats such as savannas, grasslands, forested areas, bushland, and mountainous areas. Zebras are grazing animals that can survive by eating low-quality plants. They fall prey to lions and usually run away when they feel threatened, but they can also bite and kick. Zebra species have different social behavior. The plains and mountain zebras live in stable harems consisting of a male, several females, and their young, while the grévy zebra lives alone or in unrelated herds. In harem-owning species, adult females only mate with males from their harem. Meanwhile, the male zebra grévy forms territory that attracts females, and the species also has multiple partners. Zebras communicate with a variety of voices, body postures, and facial expressions. Social care strengthens bonds between individuals in plain and mountain zebras. Zebra stripes make them the most easily recognized animals. They have been the theme of many works of art and stories in Africa and other regions. Historically, they have been targeted by exotic animal collectors. However, unlike horses or donkeys, zebras were never domesticated. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the grévy zebra as critically endangered, the mountain zebra as vulnerable, and the plains zebra as near threatened. One type of plains zebra called the quagga went extinct in the 19th century. However, zebras can still be found in various protected areas.