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African Landscapes: The Animals-Zebras

Updated on June 13, 2014
Summer in Addo Elephant Park
Summer in Addo Elephant Park | Source
Friends
Friends | Source
New born with Mom
New born with Mom | Source
Waterhole at Mkuze Game Reserve
Waterhole at Mkuze Game Reserve | Source
Have you heard that one!
Have you heard that one! | Source
Rear view
Rear view | Source
Autumn is breeding time at Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape
Autumn is breeding time at Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape | Source

One of the most beautiful African animals

African Landscapes from South Africa: Animals-The Zebra.


Visiting any Game Reserve in South Africa is likely to produce herds of these amazing, colourful animals. Even some of the smaller urban nature reserves and farms will have some feeding on them. They are often relatively tame and so can be approached easily. On a recent visit to the Mount Curie Nature Reserve where we camped on the way to Kwazulu-Natal we found a herd right in our campground and our grandkids were thrilled to be able to get so close to these beautiful animals

There are two kinds of Zebra found in South Africa, the Mountain Zebra and the Plains Zebra. In nearby Namibia a third species the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra is also found. Another species, the Quagga, became extinct in the late 19th Century and in the 1930’s the Mountain Zebra was down to less than a hundred. Thanks to conservation efforts the Mountain Zebra has made a comeback and several hundred now exist, but it is still considered endangered.

The Mountain Zebra National Park in the Eastern Cape is one place where these beautiful animals are protected and allowed to breed.. The other large game reserves in South Africa such as the Kruger National Park have large numbers of Plains Zebra. In North Africa the common species are the Grevy’s and Plains Zebra.

Zebras are one of the easiest animals to identify and have often been used in children’s stories. In the popular movie Madagascar a Zebra plays a starring role. An old Bushman legend tells the story of how a Baboon and a Zebra got involved in a fight and the Zebra, who until then had been white, fell into the fire where the smoldering branches burnt the black stripes. It has always been thought that Zebras are white with black stripes but recent scientific studies seem to indicate the opposite.

The stripes are believed to discourage the attraction of flies such as the dangerous Tsetse Fly and also to help with camouflage in the long grass. The striped effect can also confuse predators as to the number of animals and their exact location. No two Zebras are identical with there particular pattern being unique like fingerprint in humans.

Attempts have been made to domesticate these animals but have largely failed. Some have on occasions been used to pull carts or have been ridden. They have been hunted over the years for their skins that make an attractive display, and the pattern has been copied by fashion designers.

Like most animals Zebras gather together in groups normally about five or six. Such a group consists of one male and several females who are often seen grazing with other animals such as Wildebeest and Impala in a larger group. They are mainly grass eaters but will also nibble at leaves of shrubs and trees.

Zebras have excellent hearing and eye sight. The position of their ears is a good indication of the state of mind of these animals. Ears pushed forward show a sense of fright, ears tucked back indicate anger and ears in an upright position a relaxed attitude. Beware of the Zebra with his ears tucked back as he, like a horse, has a mighty kick and also a big bite.

References: Wikepedia

Carruthers, V. The Wild Life of Southern Africa. Struik.

Comments

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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the comments that I have only found now. Don't know how I missed them.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      So much of wildlife in SA and such a lovely place to visit to be close to Zebras must be a great experience.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      My pleasure, thanks for the kind comment.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      My pleasure, thanks for the kind comment.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thank you for your kind remarks. Do come and visit.

    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 

      5 years ago

      Beautiful photos and great info! Zebras are gorgeous....always enjoy seeing them at the zoo, would love to visit Africa one day and see one out in the wild. Thanks for the fantastic hub! :) voted up and interesting

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      There are some good things happening in nature conservation.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I enjoyed your information on the zebra. I didn't realize that there were so many, and it pleases me that the mountain zebra made a comeback.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the comment Mike!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      They are amazing and very beautiful animals. Nice hub, Johan!

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Some have tried to tame them but with little success. They are related to horses but resist taming.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How come you cannot ride a Zebra like a horse? And are they a horse?

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