Plains zebra






Equus quagga



The plains zebra is a Peryssodactlyla mammal and it belongs, as the horse, to the Equidae family.
The peculiar feature of the zebras, that distinguishes them from the other members of the Equidae family, is the coat, white with black or reddish-brown streaks, that lie vertical on the trunk and neck and horizontal on the limbs. Each mantle is so different from the others, that it is as identifiable as human fingerprints. It is believed that the stripes have the function of motion camouflage during flight (disruptive coloration) blending an individual with the others in the eyes of a predator. The plains zebra is the most common of the three extant species of zebra and is widespread throughout eastern Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa.
It is a mid-size equine animal, which can stand from 110 to 145 cm high at the withers, is 217 to 246 cm long and weigh 175 to 385 kg. The zebra’s favourite habitat consists of shrubby savannas; it generally avoids deserts and rainforests. The zebra lives from the sea level up to 4,300 m altitude. To search for food and for water, the zebras undertake great migrations following the rains; they manage to cover distances of over 1,000 km, often in the company of other large herbivores, especially wildebeest. The diet is mainly composed of oat grasses and the natural predators are lions and spotted hyenas; also the Nile crocodile can be a great threat while the plains zebras wade through rivers during migration.
The plains zebra is a highly social species, which generally lives in small long-term family groups of 2-15 individuals, known as harem, with a single stallion, several mares and their recent offspring. More harems may aggregate to form a herd.


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