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Grévy's zebra

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Grévy's zebra
Grevy's Zebra Equus grevyi.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Equus grevyi

Grevy's Zebra is a species of zebra known by the scientific name Equus grevyi . They are the largest living wild equid,[2] and is also the largest endangered species of zebras in the world. The name Grevy came from the French President, Jules Grévy. The zebra was given to him as a pet and had no real name yet. Because it was so new to the scientific world and was a new species, Jules Grévy named the zebra, The Grévy's Zebra after himself. In the Roman days, Grévy's Zebra had the name of "hippotigris" and would preform in the circus because of its big size and similarities of a tiger. The zebras were so big that the Romans decided to train them to pull carts for exhibition.[3] The Grevy's Zebra is most commonly found in Northern Kenya, Somalia, and Eastern Ethiopia. The species scientific name, Equus Grevyi, is big in the animal population of about 2,200 Grevy's Zebras.[4]

Body Design

A full body picture of what the Grevy's Zebra really looks like up close.

The Grévy's Zebra has black and white lines close together. The stripes on the hindquarters are vertical until they get to the hind leg, which then turn into a form of a triangle. The zebra has a large black line going down from the spine separated with white lines next to it. The bottom of the stomach is white and goes partly up to the sides of the zebra until it turns into stripes. The head of the zebra is large with a tan colored muzzle surrounded by a ring of white. The ears are very large and have rounded tips with black and white stripes on the back of them. The mane of the zebra is large and tall with black and white hair that stands up on the nape of the mane. [5]

The Grevy's Zebra has a coat on its skin that protects up to 70% of all heat so that it does not get burnt in the sun or get overly heated. The black and white stripes are a camouflage for zebras that help protect them against predators. Although Zebra stripes all look the same, they are all very different, just like a humans fingerprints. No matter how much they look alike, they all have a different pattern. In the dark and early morning, it is very difficult for predators and other animals to tell them apart because of how dark it is. The stripes confuse the predators and eventually, the predator will give up and go on its way.[6]

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a Grevy's zebra differs on the type of environment it lives in. If the zebra lives in the wild, the bachelor zebra will pick the female he wants to mate with and she will then become pregnant. The first stage of a zebra's life starts out as a foal, (a baby zebra). The pregnancy of a zebra has a gestation period of about thirteen months. After the baby is born, it stays with its mother for two-three years until it is old, and mature enough to go out into the herds and survive on its own. A zebra who lives in fields and herds lives only for about twenty-twenty five years because of all the predators and surroundings that could harm the zebra. A Zebra who lives in the zoo, captivity, or someplace that will take care of it, lives for about forty years because it is protected and has less harm. Most Grevy's Zebras live in herds of about fifteen-twenty other zebras. Sometimes they may live off by themselves but that is very unlikely because of how dangerous it is. Grevy's Zebra usually moves around from place to place and do not live in one place for to long. They like to make sure they have lots of grass and water to be able to live a long and happy life. [7]


The Grevy's Zebra in its most common habitat.

Grevy's Zebra is a grazer but also feeds off of shrubs, plants, and trees. It can eat tough grasses that are not edible to other animals. The Grevy's Zebra is able to live in the desert, and can live without water for two to five days without being dehydrated.[8]The females always need water around and can go almost two days without water before it affects their milk production. They are very open with each other. They are sociable animals and are engaged in both sex groups. Associations between the zebras rarely last more then a couple days. No lasting bonds are made between the adults. Some zebras are more aggressive and like to protect their land and claim their territory. They have an access to oestrous females that pass through their land. Grevy's Zebra have the largest territories for any herbivore at the size of about 10sq. km.[9] Grevy's Zebra do not like introduced livestock. They feel threatened towards them because the livestock prey on them for their skin and for their land. Introduced livestock also like to prey on zebra's because the Grevy's Zebra eats the hard, not easily digested grass first, so that later they can eat the softer parts[10].

Grevy's Zebra occupies a niche between the Plains Zebra and the Wild Ass. It can live in hot desert as well as large grassy areas. The territorial male has his "home land" for about seven years until another younger male zebra can come and claim it from him. They will engage in a challenge and the male who wins, keeps the land, while the male who lost has to leave. Males create a territory line, usually made out of dung piles, to show others that the land is occupied and cannot be disturbed. [11]


When a female gives to birth to a foal,( a baby zebra) it is more common that the female only gives birth to one foal at a time.[12]The pregnancy last for about 13 months and the births usually take place between August-October. The foal is born with brown stripes and a mane that covers all the way from the shoulders to the tail. The brown in the foal helps it blend in to the surroundings for protection from its predators. When the baby foal is born, the mother is very aggressive and protective because it is the time that the female zebras give birth and many babies are being born. After the baby is born, it walks around and checks its surroundings. If the mother is not watching the baby and is not protective, the baby foal could easily mistake who their mother is and get mixed up with a different family. The baby foal can stand up just after an hour of being born. Within a few hours after it is born, it is able to run around with the herd in the fields. The baby does not drink water until it is at least three months old because it still is nursing from its mother. After the male foal is at least three years old, it goes out into the bachelor herds and learns all the skills it needs to be able to survive on its own. When the foal is old enough, it starts looking for a female zebra and start to mate and have a family.[13]. The male has three jobs in order for the female to be attracted to him; water, forage, and safety for a family. When females are at the stage of producing milk, they need to be closer to help produce enough for their baby. The male is sent out to go and find the right place to have and raise a family. [14]