What Do Zebras Eat?

Zebras feeding on grass.

A zebra is a rare species that is classified under the African horse family. Their distinctive feature is the black and white stripes; these stripes are used to camouflage in their habitat to avoid being easily preyed upon. There are different species of zebras in the world, and each occupies a diverse habitat. For instance, the plain zebras are mostly located in the savannas, mainly in Northern Zimbabwe and Sudan in East Africa. The Grevy's zebras are restricted to the northern parts of Kenya. The Hartman mountain species, on the other hand, are found in Namibia and Angola, while the mountain zebras are located in the southwestern parts of Africa.

The numbers of these species in the wild vary greatly. According to the International Union for Conversation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of the plain zebras is approximated to be 750,000, the Grevy’s zebras are about 25,000, the captain mountain zebras are approximated to be between 600-700 while the total count of Hartmann’s zebras is between 800-1,300. The most striking feature of all these species is that the black and white stripes are unique in each zebra; no single zebra in the world has the same pattern of the stripes as any other zebra.

What Do Zebras Eat? 

Zebras are classified as herbivores; therefore, these species feed mostly on different forms of grasses. Apart from grazing on grass like their horse relatives, they are also known to feed on different types of shrubs, tree barks, twigs, and leaves. The digestive system of these species is correctly adapted to allow them to digest the different kinds of grass and herbs that they eat. In addition, their digestive system of these species enables them to live on diets that have lower nutritional value than those of other herbivores.

Behavior of Zebras

Zebras have been described as being a very social animal. They are sometimes observed to be living in large social groups known as harems. The plain zebras and the mountain zebras are known to live in harems that are made up of one stallion and around six mares and their offsprings. On the other hand, the Grevy's species are known to live in social groups although for a short period. Zebras sleep in groups while standing; the main reason for sleeping in groups is to keep each other warm and protect themselves from predators. While they are in groups, it is easier to detect a predator and alert each other.

The individual species of zebra have their conversation status and according to the Red List of Threatened Species produced by the IUCN, the Grevy’s zebras are highly endangered as compared to the other species. However, there are concerns about the mountain zebras as they are considered vulnerable to extinction if proper measures are not taken; the plain zebras, on the other hand, are not endangered at all. The biggest threat of the zebras is the habitat loss that is caused due to farming and ranching around their current habitats.


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