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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Species Fact Profile: Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra)

Mountain Zebra
Equus zebra (Linnaeus, 1758)

Range: Southern Africa
Habitat: Mountain Plateaus, Slopes, Grasslands, Desert Edge
Diet: Grasses, Leaves, Stems
Social Grouping: Herds of 1 male, 1-5 females, and their young.  Herds are not territorial and overlap in home ranges, sometimes merging into larger herds.  Young males form bachelor herds.
Reproduction: Polygamous.  Breed throughout the year, but with some seasonal peaks.  Breed every 1-3 years, with 1 year gestation period.  Young usually driven off at 14-16 months old
Lifespan: 25 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Vulnerable, CITES Appendices I and II (by subspecies)

  • Smallest of the zebras.  Head and body length 2.1-2.6 meters, shoulder height 1.15-1.5 meters, tail length 40-55 centimeters.  Weight 240-370 kilograms.
  • Black and white stripes, extending onto thick, short mane.  Differs from other zebras in having a pattern of narrow stripes across the rump and having a dewlap, or flap or skin, dangling from the throat
  • Good climbers, have especially hard, pointed hooves to assist in climbing mountains
  • Predators include lions, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, and cheetahs.  Fleeing is most common form of defense, but will turn and fight if cornered.
  • Often graze in association with different antelope species, taking advantage of mutual warnings of predators
  • Two subspecies: Cape mountain zebra (E. zebra zebra) and Hartmann's mountain zebra (E. z. hartmannae).  Cape mountain zebra is smaller with thicker striping; Hartmann's mountain zebra found in more arid habitats.  Some taxonomists suggest that the two should be listed as full separate species
  • Historically were harvested for their hides.  Major threats today are habitat loss due to animal agriculture, persecution by farmers viewing them as competitors for resources

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