ANIMAL FACTS - Zebra
Zebras sleep standing upright.
Our three male zebras arrived at Australia Zoo in June 2011 from Werribee Open Range Zoo. The unique stripes of zebras make these among the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills.
Zebras are African equids best known for their distinctive black and white stripes which come in different patterns unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated.
The plains zebra is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. It ranges from the south of Ethiopia through East Africa to as far south as Angola and eastern South Africa. The plains zebra remains common in game reserves, but is threatened by human activities such as hunting for its meat and hide, as well as competition with livestock and encroachment by farming on much of its habitat.
Zebras feed almost entirely on grasses, but may occasionally eat shrubs, herbs, twigs, leaves and bark. Their digestive systems allow them to subsist on diets of lower nutritional quality than that necessary for other herbivores.
Female zebras mature earlier than the males, and a mare may have her first foal by the age of three. Males are not able to breed until the age of five or six. Mares may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they are born. A zebra foal is brown and white instead of black and white at birth.
Michael was born in 1996 at Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria and came to Australia Zoo in June 2011.
He is a big zebra, very tall and solid and is therefore easy to tell him apart from dinky little Zambezi.
Michael can be quite nervous around people with his swishing tail giving away his apprehension. However, with a lot of work from his keepers, he has come a very long way and will now accept being touched and checked over up close.
Whilst being a nervous zebra around people, Michael is very bossy with the other animals in the display paddock and will try and push the giraffe away from food at times - if there is one thing that Michael LOVES, it is food!
Age: 24 Years (DOB 24/1/1995)
Zambezi is our oldest zebra and is the lead stallion of our bachelors here at Australia Zoo.
Since arriving in 2012 from National Zoo in Canberra, he has become a firm favourite with all his keepers as well as many Zoo visitors. You can easily tell Zambezi apart from our other two zebras - he boasts a beautiful caramel tinge in his white stripes.
Zambezi has demonstrated that you in fact can, ‘teach an old dog new tricks'! He loves his daily training and conditioning sessions with his keepers! He will allow them to lift and clean his feet, open his mouth for teeth checks, weigh him regularly and all sorts of other things that mean we can give him the best care possible. Of course, a few food rewards along the way help to keep him interested!