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One of the most intriguing looking animals in the animal kingdom and a much loved character in many films and books, the Zebra is definitely far from a boring animal. Belonging to the same family of animals as horses and donkeys the Zebra stands out amongst its extended family members thanks to its striking black and white stripes, which make it so recognisable to us. Zebra’s stripes are unique to each zebra and are used by researchers’ to identify specific zebras in a family, just like finger prints can be used to identify humans. Two of the three species of Zebra, the common or plains Zebra and the Grevy’s Zebra, can be found in East Africa in woodland areas or on the open plains. The third species of Zebra is the Equus Zebra, which is most commonly found in more southerly areas of Africa. Zebras usually can be found in family groups, in which the members follow a dominant female in single file in a hierarchical system with the newest or lowest ranking mare or female at the back of the line. The male zebras do not feature in this system, with the dominant male, or stallion, having no say or part to play in the hierarchy system. Family groups of zebras will look out for one another and will take great effort to search for a member if they go missing or wander off too far. Being herbivores zebras will graze on grass and other vegetation and live off the moisture found in the grass on the open plains. However in the dry season when the grass is dried out zebras have to migrate to be near a water hole in order to survive the hot days. When it comes to giving birth zebras are very private, with the mother keeping all other members of the family away from the foal for the first few days so that it comes to recognised the scent and appearance of its mother. If the foal is male it will stay with the family for a number of years, until it decides for itself to leave and join an all-male group to eventually start its own family. Zebras are a source of prey for many predators in east Africa, like lions and hyenas, and when the family is attacked the members will often turn and fight the predators, protecting any injured in the group.

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