Most of you know by now that my favorite animal is the zebra, and if you’re new to Wavy Lines (*waves to new blog buddies!*), then I’m sure you figured that out from my blog’s theme. I’ve been collecting zebra things since I was at least seven years old, and I have many many many items that are zebra-striped or have zebras on them. They’re exquisite animals, and I hope after I share these ten fascinating facts, you’ll think zebras are amazing, too!
• Zebras DO NOT sound like horses. When I was in Disney World six years ago, I picked up an adorable zebra stuffed animal that made sound when you squeezed it–except it whinnied like a horse. I was disgusted with Disney, especially since in Disney’s The Lion King, the zebra sounds are correct! So I refused to buy the oh-so-wrong stuffed animal. I describe zebra sounds as a chirping bark. (Watch the beginning of The Lion King or the movie Racing Stripes to hear true zebra sounds or listen here: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/zebra/)
• Each zebra has its own unique stripes pattern—just like human fingerprints and snowflakes do! They may look the same, but no two zebras are ever identical.
• Zebras take dust or mud baths to get clean. They shake the dirt off to get rid of loose hair and flaky skin. What's left protects them from sun, wind, and insects.
• Zebras smile! It looks like a bared-teeth grimace to us, but to zebras it’s a friendly greeting.
• Zebras are smart and fast! There are a lot of predators to watch out for–hyenas, lions, leopards, wild dogs, crocodiles–but zebras have excellent hearing and smell, and their eyesight is as good as a cat or owl at night. When running from a predator, zebras zigzag from side to side up to speeds of 35 mph. If it can get away within the first 100 yards, the zebra is usually safe!
• A zebra’s gestation period is 12-14 months and it gives birth to only one baby at a time. Baby zebras are born with brown stripes that darken to black as they get older. A newborn foal can stand up on its own soon after birth and can run fast enough to keep up with the herd within the hour!
• So what’s up with those awesome stripes anyway? When zebras are in a tight group, it may act as camouflage by confusing predators and making it difficult to select one zebra to chase. Is a zebra white with black stripes or black with white stripes? If you look at a zebra, its belly is mostly white and then the black stripes begin, right? But zebras have black skin underneath all that white hair. So I guess the answer is they are both!
• Zebras are loyal and protective. They live in small family groups, or herds, of about fifteen. It usually consists of several females, their young, and one male who leads the herd and fathers the babies. If one zebra is missing from the herd, the zebras will search for it until it’s found.
• Today there are three species of zebras: Plains zebras reside on the open grasslands and desert edges of eastern Africa to southwestern Africa. Mountain zebras live in the stony mountains of southern Africa. Grevy’s zebras are found in the semi-deserts of northeast Africa. Two species of zebras–the quagga and Burchell’s–were extinct by the early twentieth century. The three species remaining today are endangered... :*(
What is your favorite animal? Why do you like it?
Have a wonderful week, Zigzaggers!!!