With the launch of our new Zebra Collection, which celebrates the Grévy's zebra, we’ve put together 10 facts you might not have known about these striped animals, whether that’s "are they related to the horse?" or “what’s a herd of zebras called?”. Well, put your feet up and get ready to learn some incredible facts about zebras.
1. They are classified as Endangered
The Grevy's zebra now live in Ethiopia and northern Kenya, there are three main types of zebra, but the Grévy's zebra has declined in numbers at around 54% since the 1980s, where the population was estimated at 5,800. Today the population is at approximately 2,000. Over the years the numbers have severely decreased due to many reasons, from habitat loss and competing with other grazers to sadly being hunted for their skins.
2. They can run up to 65km per hour
When you think about going 65kmph in a car, it’s pretty fast and incredible that they can run up to that speed.
3. The Grévy's zebra was named after a former King
Can you guess which king? Well, it was the former King of France, Jules Grévy. He was gifted a zebra from the King of Abyssinia in 1882, now known as Ethiopia. The scientific name for the Grévy's zebra is also known as Equus grevyi.
4. Zebras stripes are unique like fingerprints
Their black and white stripes are unique and are as distinctive as human fingerprints. When a foal is born, they have reddish-brown stripes which gradually become darker and change to black as they grow.
5. Their stripes help camouflage them
It’s thought that the white and black stripes of a zebra help keep them camouflaged, as it can distract and confuse any predators such as lions. Did you know that lions are colour blind, so when they see a herd of zebras it’s confusing as everything is in black and white?
6. New-born foals can stand after six minutes
Did you know that only six minutes after being born foals can stand, after 20 minutes they can walk and from 40 minutes to an hour they can run? Which puts the human race to shame.
7. The Grévy's zebra are herbivores
They mostly eat grass, but can also eat bark, fruit and leaves and spend most of their time grazing (approximately 60%). Compared to others, the Grévy's zebra needs less water, and they have well adapted digestive systems which allows them to subsist on diets of lower nutritional quality than necessary for other animals.
8. Zebras are part of the horse and donkey family
Horses and zebras are closely related, they’re not the same species, but they are part of the same family, the Equidae family, also known as the Equus family. Although part of the same family, zebras aren’t practical to ride like horses, mainly because they are smaller and they have a very different temperament to horses.
9. A dazzle of Zebras is a thing
Did you know that a herd or a group of zebras can also be called a dazzle? Zebras tend to live in sociable family groups, with Grévy's zebras forming individual units of mares and foals.
10. Zebras can sleep standing up
Zebras can fall asleep standing up as they have locking joints, they don’t have to worry about falling over, and it ensures they can escape quickly if predators are about. They do need to lie down to enjoy a deep sleep.
The Sophie Allport Zebra Collection supports the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives. From investigating the health threats facing animals to helping people and wildlife live alongside each other, ZSL is committed to bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction. Through buying the Zebra Collection, you are helping to support ZSL’s vital conservation work.
Do you know any fascinating animal facts? Let us know in the comments below.