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What Is a Grevy's Zebra?

By April S. Kenyon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Grevy’s zebra is one of the three types of zebras. It is the largest and least sociable of the zebras. They are primarily found in northern Kenya and parts of Ethiopia, and are on the list of endangered animals.

The Grevy’s zebra appears to be more closely related to the wild ass than to the horse. Its large frame closely resembles that of a donkey. It has large, rounded ears and a narrow head. Characteristic black and white stripes run along its legs and body, though its stomach area is generally free from markings and is pure white. Its stripes are much narrower than on the other two species.

This zebra may grow to be as much as 9 feet (2.74 meters) long and 5.5 feet (1.68 meters) tall. The Grevy’s zebra can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds (453.59 kilograms). They are herbivorous animals and prefer a diet made up primarily of grass and plants. Grevy’s zebras generally only graze in close proximity to water sources.

While the mountain and plains species communicate with whinnying and snorting, this species makes more of a braying sound when it communicates with other zebras. While other zebra species lives in herds known as harams, the this species prefers to live alone or in very small groups. They only seem to gather into larger herds during the mating season. After a few months, the individual zebras stray off into smaller groups or individuals.

Male Grevy’s zebras are highly territorial. They will typically claim prime grazing areas and mark territory with piles of dung. Males will typically live alone or in small groups of two to six animals until the mating season, when the mares begin to move into the territory. The mating season of the Grevy’s zebra is generally from August to October. During this time, large herds may form.

The gestation period for the Grevy’s zebra is approximately 13 months, after which the mare generally gives birth to one foal. Twins are a rarity. After the mating season, the herd will slowly dwindle as the mares travel off with their foals. Young zebras may travel with their mother for as long as three years.

Predators and the loss of habitat to a growing society have put the Grevy’s zebra on the list of endangered species. Its habitat and food supply must be shared with growing herds of cattle, and its striking hide is highly prized by poachers. In an effort to save this zebra from total extinction, Grevy’s zebra researchers are working to gain a better knowledge and understanding of the animal and improve its chances for survival.

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Discussion Comments
By voordal — On Apr 03, 2014
The article says the stripes of the Grevy's zebra are black, but have you ever notice, when visiting a zoo, that some Zebra stripes appear to be a very dark brown?

Grevy's do seem to be more related to donkeys than to horses, especially given that they bray. I also understand that they can be very stubborn, which sounds more like a donkey.

By mohawkninja — On Apr 02, 2014
Did I read that right; five and a half feet tall, nine feet long, weighing 1000 pounds? The Grevy's zebra is a chub. I am sorry to hear that the Grevy's is on the endangered species list. Here's hoping that researchers will be successful at increasing the zebra's chance of survival.
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