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Fake Zebras

Updated on December 6, 2017

You actually can ride a zebra, or train it to pull a carriage, just like a horse.

But zebras are far more difficult to acquire and to train. So if you can't afford a real zebra, and need to reel in the punters--no problem. All you need is a white pony, horse or donkey and a can of black paint! (Or, in the case of a black animal, white paint.) Here are a bunch of different examples of fake zebras....


Tijuana Zebras

It seems that Tijuana's fake zebras date from at least the 1930s. They are a tourist trap with quite a long history. These "Tijuana zebras" are a popular prop for getting your photo taken but now becoming quite rare.

More examples:

Some of the most beautiful photographs of Tijuana zebras were these shots taken by Arturio Rubio in 2007: shot 1, shot 2.

The same general approach is used to attract tourists in many other countries too.

In the Ukraine (2011) a skinny zebra-painted horse led to an animal cruelty charge.


Moscow Crossers

In Moscow painted horses were used to remind motorists to stop for pedestrian (a.k.a. "zebra") crossings.

Shijingshan Amusement Park

Apparently they have some real zebras, but like to offer rise on fakes for the children.Or at least that's my best guess based on the photographs. Apparently some people were outraged by the "hoax". But it seems to me that they need their eyesight checked.

Gaza Zoo

But then, maybe a lot of people don't really know what a zebra is meant to look like. Otherwise this emaciated-looking specimen at the Gaza zoo would never have pasted muster.

It seems like a similar trick might have been used by a zoo in Russia?


Another location that has cottoned on to the idea of fake zebras a tourist novelties is clearly Vietnam, with examples popping up in a range of locations.


Painted Zebra in Vietnam -- garycycles8 / / CC BY


A pominent Australian photographer took the photo below "Boy Painting Zebra Stripes on a Horse" in 1910.


Halloween and Costume Horses

In Advertising

Faux zebras have appeared in advertisements for: Juicy Couture.

Movie and TV Fake Zebras

And Finally....

Some people stretch a point to zebra stripe other animals like pigs.

Did you know that it was rumored that the horse from the television show "Mr. Ed" was a zebra? It's a fun idea, but comprehensively not true.

And remember, if you are going to make a fake zebra use a calm equid and non-toxic paint. Zebra vandalism is not cool.


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    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 2 years ago

      Those are cute pictures! Great hub!