25.09.2015

Zebra pregnancy facts

A glorious fixture of the African landscape, the zebra is a very flashy member of the normally mousy-colored horse family. Because its skin is dark, many experts suggest that the zebra is a black (sometimes brown) furred animal with white stripes, while others will argue that the zebra has black stripes on a white field, pointing out the animals white undersides. In some regions where populations are large, the plains zebras social structure can be rather complex.
If the zebra has the Grant's sturdy build, but thinner two-toned stripes it is one of three subspecies.
A zebra is born with camouflage stripes, immediate mobility and a mother's lessons of survival skills. Zebras are very fast-moving animals, and can reach speeds of up to 65kmph when galloping across the plains. A zebra’s stripy coat is thought to disperse more than 70 per cent of incoming heat, preventing the animal from overheating in the African sun. While Grevy zebra society tends to be fairly open, that of plains and mountain zebras is more tight-knit, with the animals living in harems of up to six breeding females and their young, with a dominant male.
For protection, zebra groups often come together in large herds, regularly mixing with other grazers such as wildebeest.
One of the most extraordinary phenomena in the natural world is the annual 1,800-mile migration of millions of zebra, blue wildebeest and other antelope between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya’s Masai Mara in a constant search of food and water. Two types of zebra herds exist, one being made up of a "harem" of females and their foals escorted by 1 stallion, the other being a "bachelor herd" of males who are either too young, too old, or too timid to gather a harem of their own.


Our first example is the broad black stripes of the famous Grant's zebra (the rare Selous zebra is similar).
The Burchell's zebra, the Chapman's zebra and the Crawshay's zebras occasionally inter-breed and make positive identification tricky, but of the three, the Burchell's is the most common.
During the foal’s first two days of life, the mother keeps him close and limits direct contact with the other zebras so that he learns to identify her by sight, smell and sound. Some males will join a group of other young males by this time, but it is not uncommon for a young zebra to remain with his original family herd for up to four years. Recent research also shows that a zebra's stripes may have evolved to keep biting insects at bay - the monochrome pattern seems to throw off the visual systems of flies. When a group of zebras rumbles passed a lion, leopard or cheetah, it is virtually impossible for the predator to pick out just one individual target. Often called "golden zebras" they are not true albinos, but have pale tan or golden stripes and light brown or even blue eyes. For the zebra, as is the case with many herd animals, there is great security in numbers.There are 3 main species of zebra. For well-camouflaged animals such as the zebra, it is more often movement and not the outline of a form that attracts the predator to an individual.
The most familiar are the plains zebras of which there are 5 subspecies each with slight variations in not only stripe pattern but color as well, some being decidedly brown instead of black. Of these, the Grant's, a hearty animal true, bold black and white stripes that grow wider as they reach the rump, is the classic zebra in type.


But despite being every bodies favorite meal, the plains zebra is an extraordinarily successful animal, and though nature channels are rife with scenes of tragic endings, the majority of zebras lead long lives of 15 to 20 years. Fourth: The "fish bone", or "gridiron" pattern across the top of the rump of the mountain zebra. The mountain zebra tends to have the biggest variation in stripe width across the body (see small inset photo) with narrow, close-set stripes on the ribs changing abruptly to broad, wide-set stripes on the sides of the buttocks. The mountain zebras consist of 2 subspecies most easily distinguished by the fishbone pattern across the top of the rump. Speed really matters in the perilous world of a baby zebra and within moments of birth the infant is on its feet and ready to run, keeping to the center of the herd as much as possible and dodging the large hungry jaws of cheetahs, hyenas, lions and crocodiles on a daily basis. Mountain zebras also have a dewlap - a flap of loose skin at the throat, the function of which is unclear. All the zebra species are herd animals, highly social and dependent on the camouflaging effect of a mass of striped bodies for survival. Constantly moving, always alert for danger, zebras have surprisingly good eyesight, and it is believed that, despite being monochrome themselves, they actually see the world around them in full color.



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