Equus burchelli boehmi
Ethiopia, Somalia to northern South Africa
Open grassy plains and well-grassed woodlands
Wild: Grasses, leaves, scrub, rhizomes, corms
Zoo: D&H pellets, hay, vitamins
20 to 30 years
Grant's Zebra has short, narrow ears and stands at 50 to 55 inches. The weight is from 500 to 700 lbs. The upright mane is of stiff hair. The legs are striped to the hooves. Broad, oblique stripes on the hindquarters are less numerous near the belly, and there is no grid-iron pattern at the base of the tail where the stripes are longitudinal. Stripes are brownish to black. Foals have coarser coats, especially in the back. Zebra have one functional toe on each foot, the middle one.
Behavior: They live in family groups of 5 to 20, but in the dry season they assemble by the hundreds, joining other ungulates. Mainly grazers, they do browse on leaves and scrub at times. In the dry season they dig for roots and rhizomes. They are highly dependent on water and do not leave water holes for very long. They usually drink daily. In the dry season they may wander great distances seeking water. In the northern part of their range they overlap with Grevy's Zebra, but the two do not hybridize.
Reproduction: Rival stallions fight fiercely by kicking and biting during rutting. Mares are grouped together by a lead stallion to form a family herd. Mares have two inguinal teats, and their milk is rich in lactose. Foals suckle until 5 to 8 months of age. Adolescent mares leave the family group when they reach sexual maturity, either forming new herds or joining old ones. Adolescent stallions leave sometimes before maturity and either form or join bachelor groups.
Did You Know?
- The Romans called zebras "horse-tigers."
- Colonists have killed zebras since the early days. One species, the Quagga, is now extinct, the last specimen dying in captivity in 1883.
- Studies with embryos show that the Africans, who regard the zebra as a black animal with white stripes, were right. The Europeans, who mostly held the opposite view, were wrong.
- Zebras can run at up to 60 m.p.h.
- They roll on the ground to collect dust and mud to protect their skin from insects and the sun.
- Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, just as humans have unique fingerprints.
- The Genus name, Equus, is Latin for 'a horse.' The species name, burchelli, refers to Dr. W. J. Burchell (1728-1863), an English zoologist. The subspecies name, boehmi, refers to Dr. R. Bohm (1854-1884), a German biologist.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the African Plains at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.