In ancient Roman times, black and white striped horses were trained to pull chariots in circuses. These creatures were known as “horse-tigers.” If you haven’t already guessed, the “horse-tiger” referred to what we now call zebras. Native to Africa, there are three, possibly four, species, each with its own distinctive stripe pattern.
Zebras spend their days in groups called harems. These consist of a stallion and several mares, along with their foals and, if a predator attacks, they will aggressively defend one another. They’ve been known to kill lions with a swift kick to the head or the jaw.
These harems often form larger groups and mix with wildebeests and antelopes for added safety in numbers. These massive groups migrate one thousand eight hundred miles each year in search of fresh grazing land and water. Throughout this migration, each harem stays as a smaller group within the larger group.
Of course, the most striking feature of zebras is their stripes. Scientists have been researching these black-on-white, or is that white on black?, patterns, trying to determine how they help the zebra. It appears they have multiple uses. The pattern helps with camouflage as a large herd of moving black and white stripes makes it difficult for a predator to focus on any one zebra. The stripes also confuse horseflies, keeping the insects at bay. They disperse heat, reflecting some seventy percent of the hot sun away, and may even serve as sunscreen! Zebra foals can recognize their mothers by their stripe patterns as no two zebras have the same exact pattern.
Zebras belong to the same created kind as horses and donkeys. All three can successfully breed with one another, producing zedonks or zonkeys, and zorses. Generally, these zebriods, or zebra hybrids, have a brown horse-like coloring, but retain the zebra stripes in some areas.
The quagga is an extinct member of the horse kind that looked similar to zebriods and used to roam Africa in vast herds. European settlers in the 1800’s quickly hunted them into extinction. But scientists are working on bringing them back using selective breeding. Hides from the quagga still remain and scientists were able to extract DNA and they discovered the quagga is a subspecies of the plains zebra. Selective breeding of plains zebras is bringing back the look of the quagga so someday herds of these beautiful zebras may once again roam the plains of Africa.
I’m David Rives, Truly, the Heavens Declare the Glory of God.
Marvels of Creation: Magnificent Mammals | Book | Buddy & Kay Davis | MB
What an incredible design these animals have!
Did You Know?
- A camel can go without water 10 times longer than a human.
- A cheetah can run up to 70 miles an hour.
- 25,000 sharp-pointed quills cover the porcupine.
- It’s two feet long and weighs 132 pounds the heart of a giraffe.
What an incredible design these mammals have! The Master Creator made such wonderful and beautiful animals for our enjoyment!
Children and adults both will delight in this illustrated guide to mammals of the world. Filled with spectacular photographs and “creature classifications” – it is great for any home or school library.
“And God created every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:21