Q:

What do zebras eat?

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Quick Answer

All three species of zebras are herbivorous and mostly eat grasses. Zebras also feed on shrubs, leaves, bark and herbs.

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What do zebras eat?
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Full Answer

All three species of zebra feature black and white stripes and live in Africa. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra resemble horses, while the Grevy's zebra is related to the ass.

Grevy's zebras live in semi-desert areas. Tough grasses form the bulk of this endangered zebra's diet. They also eat plenty of leaves, which can sometimes form up to 30 percent of their diet.

There are two types of mountain zebra: Cape mountain zebras, which were almost hunted into extinction in the early 20th century, and the Hartmann's mountain zebra. They both eat a few types of grass, ignoring others. Themeda triandra, Cymbopogon plurinodis and Setaria neglecta are a few varieties they prefer. During the summer months Cape mountain zebras, found only in South Africa, regularly visit mineral licks.

Plains zebras, or Burchell's zebras, are the most common zebra in Africa. They live throughout southeast Africa with some living as far north as Ethiopia and others as far south as South Africa. Plains zebras' diets consist almost entirely (90 percent) of short grasses like Themeda triandra, Cenchrus ciliaris and Cynodon dactylon. The rest of their diet is comprised of herbs, twigs and leaves.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do zebras behave?

    A:

    Zebras, best known for their black and white stripes, are herbivorous social animals that like to travel in groups. Zebras engage in mutual grooming behavior and travel at a pace that accommodates the elderly, infirm and young.

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  • Q:

    How long do zebras live?

    A:

    A zebra in the wild lives for about 25 to 30 years, while a zebra at a zoo can live for up to 40 years. Wild zebras must contend with predators such as humans, lions and hyenas. They also do not get services such as medical treatment that zoos provide.

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  • Q:

    How are zebras classified?

    A:

    Zebras are members of the horse family, Equidae, and of the genus Equus. Their nearest living relatives are horses and donkeys. More distant relatives in the order Perissodactyla include tapirs and rhinos.

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  • Q:

    How are zebras born?

    A:

    Once a zebra mare begins labor, zebra foals are born swiftly from either a standing or prone position. Because zebras are under constant threat of predators in the wild, zebra foals are born fully developed and are able to stand within a few minutes and walk within 15 minutes. Within an hour, a zebra foal is capable of running.

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