Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yipes! Stripes! Zebras Got Them!

Zebras , along with donkeys & horses, belong to the "Equidae" family in the "Animalia" kingdom. There are 3 species of Zebra; the plains zebra,  the mountain zebra, & the "Grevy" zebra. All 3 occupy the grasslands of the Savanna as their primary habitat, yet  ewe will find some zebras in the woodlands & mountains. Zebras are herbivores.

I enjoy the grasslands , especially when they offer  such a large buffet!
Did ewe know that the Savanna runs "Family Specials"? Eating out is now possible!
Zebras are uniquely born with stripes, which serve them well in 
the wild. The Savanna has its share of predators, all looking for a tasty meal.Lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, & hyenas all are carnivores, preying on Zebras. Zebras form herds for safety, their stripes all blending together, making it more difficult for predators to single out the weakest animal, especially at night!

Ewe think we're kidding? Ewe try telling us apart! (Look Closely)
Ewe win some & Ewe lose some! Predator 1 Zebra 0
Zebras are intelligent & social animals.They gather in herds, which contain smaller groups called harems. Each harem consists of a lead male, called a stallion, several females, called mares, & the young Zebras, known as foals. The male is the head, but will yield the choice of direction for the group's movement to the female. All members of a harem are able to recognize one another.

We enjoy Each others' company! It sure beats being eaten by a lion!
 A Zebra's average height is 3.5-5 Ft. & its average weight is 440-990 lbs., with a  life expectancy of about 25 yrs. in the wild. Zebras can run up to 35 mph & will move in a zig-zag pattern when being chased by predators. They have real stamina & are able to outlast most cats over long distances. Their bodies are stream-lined & if  caught, they will bite & also kick with their deadly hoofs! 
This is one fast cat, but she's not catching me! Hee Hah!
Don't forget to Zag after Ewe Zig! No Lion, it works almost every time!

Zebra family life is quite fascinating.The dominant male defends his rule over the harem each breeding season. He fights bitterly, resisting any challengers with fierce kicking & biting. There is also a strict pecking order among mares.They fight or threaten any other mares desirous of the top rank. Threats include lowering the head, flashing the teeth, & tail lashing. High-ranking mares enjoy perks such as access to a dust bath, & the coveted shade!
Both males & females can fight like cats & dogs!It's all about being #1!
Zebras are quite social outside of mating season! They bond by mutually grooming each other's head, neck, & shoulders.They also nibble at one another, sniff, & rub heads & shoulders! They converse through snorts, sniffs, barks, & brays. Snorts are given when uptight, & Sniffs are friendly greetings. Barks & Brays are warning signals for possible danger!

We either will hang together , or hang separately!

Zebra mares have a 12 month pregnancy before giving birth to one foal. A foal is able to stand in just 20 min. of birth, & is also able to run beside its mother the same day! Mares make excellent Moms to their foal, licking, sniffing, & protectively bonding with it, in order to know its smell & stripe pattern. Other mares of the herd know to stay away, or they will have to face the wrath of "Mare"!
Did Ewe know that "We" need some "Alone Time"!
Sheep & Zebras have a great deal in common. They are both herbivores & have a pecking order, headed up by a dominant animal! They both travel in herds for safety, & both mothers are
very protective of their young. Sheep do have the big advantage of  being cared for by a Shepherd. Zebras are sadly left on their own! 

Two, Four, Six. Eight, Who do we appreciate? The Shepherd!Yeah!
Today is a great day to acknowledge once again, that having a Good Shepherd gives Ewe a real advantage! Happy Trails to Ewe!

 " The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Ps.23:1

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