Scientific Name:
Equus quagga

Conservation Status:

Where to see them:
African Plains

Fun Facts:

No two zebras bear the same stripe pattern.

Speed is a zebra’s best defense against attack, but when cornered, the animals are also capable of powerful, dangerous kicks.

There are four species of zebra: the Cape mountain zebra (E. zebra zebra), Hartmann's mountain zebra (E. z. hartmannae), Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi) and the plains zebra (E. quagga).


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Height at the shoulder is 3.5 to 5 feet (1.1 to 1.5 meters); weight is 440 to 990 pounds (200 to 450 kilograms).

Plains zebras live in eastern and southeastern Africa with highest concentrations in Kenya and Tanzania.

Open, short grassed savannas

The plains zebra is highly social and usually forms small family groups consisting of a single stallion, one, two, or several mares, and their recent offspring. The adult membership of a harem is highly stable, typically remaining together for months to years. Bachelor males either live alone or with groups of other bachelors until they are ready to start their own harems. Mares exist in a hierarchy, with the alpha female being the first to mate with the stallion and being the one to lead the group. When new mares are added to the group, they are met with hostility by the other mares. Thus, the stallion must shield the new mares until the aggression subsides. A stallion will defend his group from other males. When challenged, the stallion will issue a warning to the invader by rubbing noses or shoulders with him. If the warning is not heeded, a fight breaks out. Zebra fights often become very violent, with the animals biting at each other's necks, heads or legs, wrestling to the ground, and occasionally kicking.

Zebras are grazing herbivores, eating primarily grasses.

Life Cycle
Mares may give birth to one foal every 12 months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they're born. Plains zebra foals are protected by their mother, as well as by the head stallion and the other mares in their group. Even with parental protection, up to 50 percent of zebra foals are taken by predation, disease and starvation.

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)

Lion, spotted hyena, wild dogs, leopard, cheetah, wildebeest, giraffe, waterbuck and Thomson gazelle

Population Status & Threats
Lions are the zebra's chief predator; however, the zebra's most devastating enemy is man. Although they are the most common of the zebra species, plains zebras are still hunted and threatened by habitat loss due to agricultural expansion in their native Africa.

Zoo Atlanta Conservation Efforts
Zoo Atlanta participates in the AZA Plains Zebra Studbook and Population Management Plan.