In Spring 2023, two Zebras, Lulu and Kito, joined our Ostrich at the north end of the zoo near the Emu exhibit. In Swahili, Lulu means pearl and Kito means gem. They are sturdy, spirited animals that are a study in contrasts: willful and playful, social and standoffish, resilient and vulnerable. They are most famous for their black and white stripes that allow them to confuse predators in the wild. Are they white with black stripes or black with white stripes? This is one of the most-asked questions about zebras! Zebras are generally thought to have white coats with black stripes. However, Zebras have black skin underneath their fur.
Zebras are members of the horse family. They have excellent hearing and eyesight and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Their hard hooves are designed to withstand the impact of their body weight and to run easily over rocky ground. Their life in a herd can be complex, yet they also find safety in numbers. They are prey for predators, but they are by no means shrinking violets when it comes to defending themselves. They also have a powerful kick that can cause serious injury to a predator, like a lion, a hyena, or an African wild dog. Usually, the lead male of the herd called a stallion, sounds the alarm if danger is spotted and stays at the back of the group to defend against predators if necessary, while the mares (females) and foals (youngsters) run away. When resting at night, zebras lie down while one stands watch to prevent an ambush.
- Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern - no two are alike.
- Zebras have black skin underneath their fur.
- A zebra's eyesight at night is thought to be about as good as that of an owl.
- Zebras have a pad of fat under their mane that keeps it standing straight up.