Facts on Zebra Babies

By Lynn Curwin
A young zebra is called a foal.

Zebra babies are called foals. The three species of zebra are Burchell's, Grevy's and the mountain zebra; all raise their foals in the same way. All are found in Africa. The zebra's striped pattern can help foals hide among other members of their herd.



Birth

A female zebra is pregnant for 13 months. Newborn zebras weigh 66 to 77 lbs. and are about 33 inches in height. They are short-bodied and long-legged and have some brown stripes at birth.

Early Days

A female zebra usually keeps others away from her foal for the first 2 or 3 days, and the young ones form a strong bond with their mother. They can usually walk within 15 minutes of birth and run after about an hour.

Growing Up

Zebra foals begin to get their adult coloration when they are about 4 months old. Foals may graze within a week of birth, but they continue to nurse from their mothers until they are about 10 months of age. Some nurse for longer.

Infant Mortality

The infant mortality rate is about 50 percent, mainly because of predation by lions and spotted hyenas. Crocodiles, wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards, humans and habitat destruction are also threats.

Leaving Home

Female zebras become independent from their mothers sooner than males. Males usually leave the herd when they are between 1 and 3 years of age, and often spend time living in a bachelor herd.

Unusual Offspring

People sometimes breed zebras with other animals. A zonkey is a cross between a zebra and a donkey, a zebrula (or zorse) is a cross between a zebra and a horse, and a zeony is a cross between a zebra and a pony.

About the Author

Lynn Curwin has been writing for various publications since 1997. She has written for the "Halifax Herald," "Truro Daily News," "Weekly Press," "Report on Business," "Truro Magazine," "Harness Racing Review," "Digital Journal" and more. She studied at Concordia University in Montreal.