What’s a Zebra? A zebra is a relative of the horse that is found in many parts of Africa. It is shorter than most horses, with a stocky frame and donkey-like head and erect mane. Most notable feature of the zebra is its black and white striping pattern.
Zebra Species/ Subspecies There are three species of zebra living in the world: Plains Zebra Mountain Zebra Grevy’s Zebra The Plains Zebra has 6 subspecies, one of which is extinct. (Quagga) The Mountains Zebra has 2 subspecies. Grevy’s Zebra has no subspecies at all.
Quagga The Quagga was a subspecies of the Plains Zebra that went extinct in the late 19th century. The last Quagga died in a zoo in 1883. The Quagga was hunted to extinction by man for its meat, hide, and to cut down on grazing competition with dosmetic animals.
Quagga (cont’d) A colored drawing of a Quagga in the wild. (1793)
The Age Old Question… As long as man has known about the zebra we have wondered one question: are zebra black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?
…And the answer is… Recent genetic research has revealed to us the answer to this question: zebra are in fact black animals with white stripes. The pattern is created by pigment activation (which results in black) and inhibition (which results in white). Therefore, since white only occurs through the absence of pigment, they say the animal’s color is black. It is possible for zebra to come in ‘albino’ or ‘white’ colors also. This happens when the pigment of the black stripes is muted or weakened through genetics.
The White Zebra A ‘white’ zebra at an animal reserve.
Zebras as pets? Believe it or not, people have been keeping zebras as pets for a very long time! When Europeans came to Africa, they been keeping and training zebras to ride and pulls their carriages just like their horses back home.
Zebras as Pets (Cont’d) People have continued to breed, train, and keep zebras even to this day. They are intelligent, resilient creatures that actually make surprisingly good riding or show horses.