Eyes on the Side
Zebra have large eyes located high up on their head. Eye placement allows them to scan their surroundings for predators while they continue grazing. The only blind spot is directly behind them. Individual zebra within a group often face different directions so they can observe in all directions providing protection for the entire group.
Grevy’s zebra have long muzzles with 40-42 constantly growing teeth that are used to crop and grind the coarse vegetation they eat. Their eyes are located far up on their head to make room for the roots of their large cheek teeth!
I Know You
Zebra communicate in several different ways. The stripes help them recognize others of their species. They also make loud donkey-like braying calls.
The Skinny on Stripes
All zebra are white with black stripes not black with white stripes! The stripes of the Grevy’s zebra are very narrow compared to other zebra species. Their stripes continue all the way down their legs to the hooves, and the underbelly is white. The pattern of stripes on each zebra is unique and can be used to identify individual animals. The stripes also function as a form of camouflage breaking up the outline of the zebra and confusing predators.
- Males weigh between 836-990 pounds (380-450 kg), and females weigh between 770-880 pounds (350-400 kg).
- Stand about 63 inches (160 cm) at the shoulder.
- Grevy’s zebra have short white fur with narrow black stripes and a white underbelly.
- They have a tall, erect mane along the neck and back.
- They have large rounded ears and eyes high up on the side of the head.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Grasses and other plants.
At the zoo: Hay, alfalfa, grain.
What Eats It?
Lions, wild dogs, leopards prey on Grevy’s zebra. The zebra has also been used by native peoples for food and its striking hide.
Unlike other zebra species, Grevy’s zebra do not form permanent herds. The only strong social relationship is between females and their offspring. Most Grevy’s zebra live in unstable groups of 20-30 individuals consisting of mares with foals, other females and bachelor males. The groups may change from day to day. Grevy’s zebra stallions set up large territories and mate with any females that wander through the territory. Males will tolerate other males within the territory as long as they do not interfere with their activities.
Both males and females are sexually mature by three to four years of age although males are not usually dominant enough to mate until they are about six years old. Mating can occur throughout the year. After a 13-month gestation, a single foal is born weighing 80-125 pounds (36-56 kg). Newborn foals have dark brown stripes and fuzzy coats; by one year, foals are less fuzzy and their stripes turn black. Foals can stand within 15 minutes, walk within a half hour and run short distances less than an hour after birth. In the first few hours, foals imprint on their mother and will follow her for protection. They nurse for up to eight months but begin to nibble on grasses within a week. Although they are relatively independent by nine months, they will stay with mom up to three years. Grevy’s zebra live 18-20 years in the wild, but up to 30 years in captivity.
- Grevy’s zebra were named for Jules Grevy, a former president of France, to whom the first known specimen of the animal was sent in 1882.
- No two zebra have identical stripes – each stripe pattern is as distinctive as a fingerprints.
- Grevy’s zebra have never been domesticated.
- Grevy’s are the largest species of zebra and largest of all wild equids (horses and asses).