Zebras are wild animals of the Equidae family, just like horses and asses, mostly found in Africa’s savanna grasslands. They are stripped with black-and-white stripes, which are the distinctive features of each. Zebras feed on the grass, with the long grass being their favorite meal, unlike the other wild animals which prefer the short grass. They can be spotted in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, among other countries.
A zebra can run at a top speed of about 64 km/h (40 mph). This is quite fast for a zebra, though a horse can outrun the zebra by hitting its maximum speed of 70 km/h (44 mph). This fast speed helps a zebra to quickly escape whenever a certain predator attacks it for prey.
Zebras have to run really fast to escape the many predators in the wild, such as lions, leopards, and hyenas, among others. The advantage of a zebra is that it has very sharp eyesight and excellent hearing power. This helps it to make no mistakes while running. These two aspects also help the zebras to stay alert because they can clearly see what lies ahead and also notice any unordinary sound around.
What Kills Zebras?
Zebras are rarely safe in the wild as they are prey to many carnivorous animals, especially the larger and more energetic ones. Even though the zebras are stripped for easier camouflaging, it does not help them to fully escape their predators’ eyes. However, the stripes are said to also help the zebras recognize one another.
Leopards, lions, cheetahs, African wild dogs, Nile crocodiles, and hyenas, all prey on zebras. Human beings also kill and eat zebras and use their distinctive skins.
A zebra skin is used by humans in the designing of a statement (the focus design meant to attract customers) used in furniture, handbags, shoes, and different upholstery applications. Zebras must always be aware of their surroundings, one of the reasons they stay and graze together as a group. This minimizes their chances of a predator attacking them and singling out only one zebra from the dazzle or herd. Though it may not be encouraging to see a zebra being killed in the wild, this helps in regulating their population and keeping the entire ecosystem in check.
Can Zebras Outrun Lions?
Typically, a lion runs faster than a zebra. A lion can run at a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), far higher than a zebra’s highest speed of 64 km/h (40 mph). However, a zebra keeps on accelerating, making it hard for the lion to bear the increasing speeds.
Lions are usually heavy-bodied, using considerable energy when hunting. A zebra is swift and dexterous in running and therefore able to escape the lion if the run takes more than 60 seconds. It takes sharp turns while running, making it hard for a predator to catch it. However, not all zebras make it to outrun the lion, a reason why a lion will still catch a zebra every few days. Zebras are however able to outrun most of the other predators such as wild dogs and hyenas, reducing their chances of being killed.
A single lion can manage to hunt down an ailing zebra or a young one. A newly-born zebra is able to stand after only six minutes. However, for a better experience, the lions would hunt the zebras in groups called pride. As a general rule, the lions surround the zebras and pick one for their prey, overcoming it before it accelerates and outruns them.
How Strong Is A Zebra Kick?
A zebra can kick with approximately 3,000 pounds of force. This is far beyond the kick of a giraffe or the renowned red kangaroo. When a zebra is in danger, its single kick on the body can kill a mature African lion.
Generally, a zebra’s kick severely injures the predator. While the zebra is kicking, it usually peeps between its legs for an accurate location of where to blow the enemy, losing no chances in its attack. A zebra has very powerful hindquarters which are forceful enough to break a crocodile’s jaw in a single kick, according to researchers. This is their self-defense, especially in the wild, where the predators are numerous.
Apart from kicking, zebras also bite their predators strongly and also push them away. They also do this to the male stallion which tries to invade the herd or show dominance in mating. The zebra’s kick is said to be the strongest of all other animals, even stronger than a horse’s kick. A male zebra kicks to death or bites the young ones of its mating partners after taking them over from another stallion to death to ensure that its own offspring is the one in existence.
Are Zebras Aggressive To Humans?
Zebras are aggressive to anyone and anything which tries to invade their territories, tame them or attack them. They are said to bite humans brutally, whenever they get too close to them.
According to researchers, zebras have never been human-friendly, and neither do they deserve to be classified as domesticable. Records of people being attacked by zebras, especially in the zoo when they get too close or while feeding the zebras, are an indication that a zebra is a human’s friend. Though they do not seem to be aggressive, they are usually among the most violent animals in the wild. Among themselves, however, zebras remain to be social animals, living in herds, defending each other, and grooming one another.
However, human beings have still tried to domesticate zebras. Some have been put in zoos and others trained to be ridden. It is not an easy venture, however, and in cases where the zebras have escaped from the zoo, it has always been very problematic to bring them back. Training the zebras to be ridden is yet to take shape and up to now, the methods used to tame or train the zebras have always been cruel.