Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z.....is for Zebra

Zebras are unique in more ways than one. Now I'll give you a short walk down zoology lane as I tell you some facts about Zebras you probably didn't know.....and I wouldn't have either except I helped my granddaughter with a report.

The stripes on a Zebra are unique, just like fingerprints are unique on each human. It is being studied, but at this time it's unknown if Zebras are able to recognize each other by their striping. When a foal is born, it is brown and white striped rather than black and white. And since we are on the subject of stripes.....rather than black stripes on a white background as previously thought, it is white stripes on a black background....underneath the white, the skin is black.

When a foal is born, the mother keeps all other Zebras away for 2 to 3 days so it will recognize her scent and her striping as well as her unique call. Their calls sound more like a puppy yelping than what you would figure they would sound like.....a horse. A foal can stand within a few minutes of being born and can run within an hour.

They have exceptional eyesight and hearing and even have night vision as well as an owl. Their sense of smell and taste are also extremely keen.  They sleep standing up and always alert. They tend to stay in small herds, one stallion to a harem of mares. The stallion, however, doesn't always stay with them. There will be a dominant mare who is always at the front of the line with her foal.....the pecking order aligns with their place in the line. Rather than being scattered about, they walk in a single file line, the dominant mare in the lead....each foal right behind its mother.  They form family groups and even if they later join a larger herd, each family group will stick together within. Each member of the family will look out for the other members of their family, even coming to their aid in the event of an attack.

Their diet is similar to that of a horse and since their teeth are always grinding up the grasses, some of them quite dry, they get worn down. Therefore, their teeth are always growing.

It is thought that the striping confuses predators when a lot of Zebras are bunched together, making it look like one huge animal rather than a lot of smaller ones. If Zebras are attacked, the mares will gather the foals and circle around them for protection while the stallion fights off the threat.

I've just covered the basics here as there are different sub-species and their striping is a bit different, some with wider stripes or narrower stripes. The more narrow the stripes, the better it acts as a repellent from horse flies and the dreaded tsetse fly , which is another strange fact.

Ok, we're through with zoology for today......and this is also the end of the Challenge.  Hope you all have enjoyed it.


Peruby said...

I have enjoyed it very much, thank-you. Ending with the zebra was perfect. I learned something I did not know before.

forsythia said...

Zeelicious post!

Linda@VS said...

You've done a great job with this challenge, and I've enjoyed it immensely. Can't wait to see what challenge you tackle next.

Mary Rack said...

If you live in Plymouth we are neighbors: I live in Northville just north of 7 Mile Rd. Let's get together. I am sending you info about the Liebster Award (a way to extend the A to Z Challenge.) Watch for it soon. Mary at Mary A to Z

Mary Rack said...

It's me again: I have enjoyed your blog and I nominate you for a Liebster Award. Please visit the award post on my blog and read all about it. Instructions are there if you would like to participate. Congratulates on a successful A to Z Challenge! Mary at Mary A to Z

Josie Two Shoes said...

This was a fun finish, Val... mine had a zebra too! I never knew all this about zebras, and I love to learn new things! Who would have thought that their white stipes were indeed "painted" on black skin instead of vice-versa! Isn't it sad that people don't come in cool patterns like cats and dogs? :-)

I am so glad you joined in the challenge, and I hope you'll stick around and keep posting often! You DID it, you did the whole thing! I am still trying to catch up from my vacation absence, and work has been so crazy busy this week, but I'll be back to read what I've missed here, and also to send you an email that I promised! Hugs and happy weekend, you are awesome!

lotta joy said...

Does "Z" mean you're finished? Thank god. I couldn't last if there was another letter.

Now - back to your own posts so I can leave snarky comments.

Jessica Peterson said...

This was so interesting! Thank you for sharing. I was most surprised that zebras have black skin underneath.

Congrats on completing a-z. :)