Zebras are horse-like animals that live in Africa, with three separate species of zebras found on that continent. The plains zebra is the most common, with the mountain zebra and the Grevy's zebra less so. Zebras closely resemble stout ponies and exist in herds for protection from predators such as the lion, leopard and hyena.
The most famous features of zebras are their black and white stripes, which serve as a sort of protective coloration, making it difficult to distinguish the animal against certain backgrounds and hard to determine where one zebra ends and another begins. These stripes are different from animal to animal and the skin of the zebra underneath its coat is actually black.
The male zebra can sometimes stand as high as five feet at the shoulder. The females are usually smaller, with a good-sized one being four and a half feet high when measured from the ground to the top of the shoulder.
A female zebra will weigh between 400 and 600 pounds with the males being heavier than that. A large specimen may push the scales towards 900 pounds but most males average around 700 pounds.
The typical zebra has small hooves but very large ears, which enable them to hear what danger may be heading their way. The mane of the zebra is comprised of almost bristle-like hairs which give it the appearance of a mohawk-type haircut and the legs are particularly muscular and very strong.
Zebras will flee before predators using a zigzagging running style to try to confuse its pursuer. The zebra is not nearly as fast as a horse but its amazing stamina allows it to run at constant speeds for very long distances.
About the Author
John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.