Zebras are classified as single-hoofed that are endemic to the African continent. These animals are close relatives of the horse and donkeys.
Zebras are herbivorous, and their diet mainly consists of grass. These animals can also be found browsing on the stems and leaves of some bushes.
Table of Contents
What Do Zebras Eat?
|Type of Zebra||Binomial Name||Diet|
|Mountain Zebra||Equus zebra||Wide variety of grasses, leaves, and bush plants.|
|Grevy’s Zebra||Equus grevyi||Grasses and leaves.|
|Plains Zebra||Equus quagga||Grasses, leaves, and small young trees.|
Types of Zebras and their Habitats
Zebras are classified under the genus Equus, which is the same as that of donkeys and horses. What makes zebras unique is their coats, which are adorned with an array of stripes. Three types of zebras have been described.
These are discussed below, including their habitats. As suggested by their names, the mountain zebras are commonly found in mountainous terrain, especially on the slopes. The regions they inhabit have an altitude of 2000 m above sea level.
What Do Mountain Zebras Eat?
Mountain zebras are smaller in size compared to the other zebra species.
- Two subspecies of the mountain zebra have been described, which include the Cape mountain zebra and the Hartmann’s mountain zebra.
- Like other equids, the mountain zebras are roughage feeders, meaning they consume a wide variety of grass that is found within their preferred habitats.
- In other scenarios, mountain zebras can be forced to be browsers.
What Do Grevy’s Zebras Eat?
The Grevy’s zebra can be found in wide distribution in northern parts of Kenya and some areas of southern Ethiopia.
- These zebra species mostly inhabit semi-arid grasslands. They can also be found acacia savannahs.
- The most suitable habitat for this type of zebra is one with a permanent water source.
- Grevy’s zebra is mostly a grazer, but it displays browsing behavior in some instances.
What Do Plains Zebras Eat?
Of all the different types of zebras, the plains zebra is the most common. It is larger when compared to the mountain zebra but smaller than the Grevy’s Zebra.
- Some of the sub-species of the plains zebra include the Burchell’s zebra, Chapman’s zebra, Maneless zebra, Grant’s zebra, Crawshay’s zebra, and the Quagga, which is now extinct.
- The plains zebras live in herds containing a male, also referred to as the stallion, some females, and their offspring.
- This species can grow to between 440 and 990 pounds, with a height of between 3.5 and 5 feet.
- The plains zebra eats a wide array of grasses, leaves, and small young trees.
- As suggested by their names, the plains zebra is mostly found in eastern and southern Africa regions where they inhabit savannah without trees and woodlands.
- Interestingly, this species is absent from rainforests, deserts, and wetlands.
The population of this species is now considered to be threatened, which explains why they are extinct from countries like Lesotho and Burundi.
How Do Zebras Hunt?
Zebras and herbivores (they are mainly grazers), which means they do not hunt for their food.
When Do Zebras Eat?
Zebras tend to display diurnal activity, which means they are often be found feeding during the day. Other species like the Burchell’s zebra display both diurnal and nocturnal activity, but they lean more on being active and feeding during the day.
How Often Do Zebras Eat?
Zebras can spend about 18 hours of their day eating.
- Zebras spend most of their time eating to provide them with energy because of their large size.
- Their strong teeth allow them to cut through grass blades with ease.
What Eats Zebras?
When it comes to predation, it is worth noting that the stripes on the zebras’ coats provide the perfect camouflage to them. This is especially important at night.
- During the day, these stripes come in handy to provide camouflage in tall grass by breaking their outline to predators.
- In the cases where camouflage does not defend these animals, and they do not have the speed to match that of their predators, they can be hunted down by organisms like leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and crocodiles found within their habitats.
- Humans also hunt down zebras for their meat, among other of their body parts, and such poaching actions have driven some species to extinction.
The zebra plains an essential role in the animal food chain. It provides a great source of nutrition to a great host of animals, including humans.
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- “Zebra | African Wildlife Foundation”. Accessed August 22, 2020. Link.