Grant's Zebra

ZOO LOCATION: African Rift Valley

Lifespan: 12 to 28 years

Wild Diet: Long, coarse grasses on the African plains

Predators: Mainly lions; occasionally leopards

SSP: no

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Habitat/Range: Open plains and savannahs of eastern, central and southern Africa

Characteristics: Grant's zebras are the smallest of all sub-species of plains zebra. They are distinguished by vertical stripes on their sides, horizontal stripes along the chest, spine and legs all the way to their hooves, along with diagonal stripes on the rump and hind flanks. A noticeable V-shaped occurs in the pattern along their sides. Their color pattern renders them extremely conspicuous against green backgrounds, but almost invisible in tall grasses or along the horizon of a plains area. They average 53 inches tall and weigh 500-700 pounds.

Behavior: Grant's Zebras have good eyesight, a keen sense of smell and like other equine, can run fast. While generally shy, they can be temperamental and aggressive. In they wild, zebras typically live in herds for protection through safety in numbers. At night a member of the heard remains awake while the others sleep. When zebras are calm their ears are erect. If their ears are forward they're afraid, and if the ears are pulled back they are angry.

Reproduction: Zebra mares are mature at three years of age. Gestation lasts nearly a year. Foals are developed at birth and the newborn will stand up and move with the herd less than an hour after birth. Mothers and their youngsters remain inseparable during the first seven months of nursing. Young males leave the herd after two years while females typically stay longer.

Conservation: Grant's zebra are the most abundant and widely distributed of plains zebra subspecies. Historically zebras were hunted for their pelts; some species such as the Grevy's and Mountain zebra have not recovered and are still considered endangered.