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Burchells Zebra

Afrikaans name: Bontzebra or Bontkwagga

Burchell's Zebra drinking at a waterhole

Burchell's Zebra

Photo © Steven Herbert

Equus quagga

Interesting facts about zebras

The Burchell's Zebra is often called the Plains Zebra or sometimes it is referred to as the Common Zebra.

This is the most common species of zebra and it is widely distributed across Africa.

Both male and females can reach 1.4 metres in height at the shoulder and they can weigh over 300 kg.

Are a zebra's stripes used to break up their shape amongst others in the herd or does the pattern confuse predators? Each zebra's pattern is unique and may serve some social function.

A zebra's diet consists almost completely of grass although they may browse on shrubs and herbs. Zebras require regular access to water.

A variety of animals prey on the Burchell's Zebra including Lion, Spotted Hyena, Crocodile and others such as Wild Dog.

Herds of Burchell's Zebra normally consist of a stallion, a few mares and their offspring. Males may also group together to form bachelor herds.

During the wet season females give birth to their foals. She may nurse the foal for up to a year. At some point the young males leave the herd while young females will at some point will join other herds.

Burchell's Zebra at Tala Game Reserve

Burchell's Zebra youngster getting a nip

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Burchell's Zebras may defend themseles by biting but they also seem to bite other herd members for 'fun'. Here a sub-adult tries out his biting abilities on a youngster.

Burchell's Zebras fighting in KRuger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Burchell's Zebras  stallions will fight to defend their territories. They bite eachother and can deliver powerful kicks.

Does the black and white pattern of a Burchell's Zebra confuse predators?

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - It is said that the colouration of the Burchell's Zebra may help to confuse predators as it breaks up their shape. If you look at the above photo of 4 zebras you can see  how their might be some truth in that theory.

Burchell's Zebra doing the 'flehmen'

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Burchell's Zebras have a good sense of humour and love a good joke. No, not really! This zebra is actually smelling something really intriguing (me?). This posture is called the 'flehmen' and allows a zebra, or horse, to more effectively smell the air.

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References and further reading

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 158

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 9

Caravan & Outdoor Life - Issue 622 - Author: - Year Published: - Page: 58

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 170

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 157

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 104

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 182

Kruger National Park, Visitor's Map - Author: - Year Published: 1996 - Page: 4

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 143

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillier - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 67

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Year Published: 1980 - Page: 78

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 166

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 417

Signs of the Wild - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 137

List of South African Mammals

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