79. Z is for Zebra

Kenya has two kinds:
Grevy’s and Plains

Zebras are native to Africa. They are social animals and live in herds. Zebras can be found in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, mountains and coastal hills.

Their black and white stripes make them a safari goer’s favorite. No two stripe patterns are alike.

Zebras can rotate their ears 180 degrees, and can turn them separately so that one ear faces front, while the other listens for sounds back of them.
They have excellent eye sight, a dangerously strong kick and can run up to 35 miles per hour.



Zebras are very closely related to horses and donkeys. Although they’ve been ridden, they are small, with rather weak backs and cannot support very much weight. They’re much wilder and more aggressive than horses or donkeys, which makes domestication difficult.

Zebra’s are herbivores and can survive for a week without water. Peak birth periods for the Grevy’s are usually July through August, so I should be seeing a few babies when we go on a game drive.

Of the three species of zebra (Plains, Mountain and Grevy’s), both the Plains and Grevy’s reside in Kenya.


The Grevy’s Zebra

Grevy’s Zebras are the largest of the three zebra species. They have short manes and thin stripes that do not go all the way around their stomachs.

Grevy’s Zebras have large, round Mickey Mouse-like ears.

In the late 1800s, Kenya was home to between 20,000 and 30,000 Grevy’s Zebras. In the early 1980s, there were 15,000. Loss of habitat has dwindled their population to less than 2,500, making them one of the most endangered of wild animals.

Ninety percent of Grevy’s are found in Kenya.
They are hunted for their striking skins.

Source: mbzFund, Grevy’s Zebra Conservation in Kenya, YouTube (Time: 5:39)

The Plains Zebra

The Plains Zebra is the commonest of Africa’s three species and the one familiar to most safari goers.

Plains Zebra


The Plains Zebra has a striped belly. The stripes on its neck continue onto its mane, which has stiff, erect hairs.

Zebras nibble each other’s mane and neck to reinforce social bonds during mutual grooming.

They live in small family groups consisting of a male (stallion), several females, and their young. These units may combine with others to form awe-inspiring herds thousands of head strong, but family members will remain close within the herd

Source: Young Zebra’s Dangerous River Crossing | Life Story | BBC Earth (Time: 5:40)