Swahili: punda milia
Zebras are one of the most common animals in the Kenyan parks and are widely distributed. You’ll find them in great numbers in Nairobi, Tsavo, Amboseli, Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Maralal and Marsabit reserves as well as Masai Mara where they are present in the thousands.
Zebra often intermingle with other animals, most commonly the wildebeest but also topi and hartebeest.
There are two species to be seen in Kenya, the most common being Burchell’s zebra which is found in the entire western and southern parks all the way up to Samburu and Maralal. In the more arid north-west and north-east, however, the most common species is the Grevy’s zebra which differs from Burchell’s in having much narrower and more numerous stripes, prominent, broad, rounded ears, and a pure white underbelly.
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Some taxonomists classify Burchell’s zebra into various ‘races’ or subspecies but this is a contentious issue since it is impossible to find two zebras exactly alike even in the same herd. What is more certain is that although Burchell’s and Grevy’s zebra often form mixed herds over much of their range, they do not interbreed in the wild.
Zebra are grazers but will occasionally browse on leaves and scrub. They need water daily and rarely wander far from a water hole, though they appear to have considerably more resistance to drought than antelope.
Reproductive rituals take the form of fierce fights between rival stallions for control of a group of mares. The gestation period is about 12 months and one foal is born at a time.
The most usual predator is the lion, though hyena and hunting dogs will occasionally take zebra too.