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Sounds of the Burchell’s Zebra

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Sounds of the Burchell’s Zebra 2017-05-17T06:51:59+00:00

It is only possible to confuse Burchell’s zebra with the Cape mountain zebra. The stripes on the flanks run on to the belly whereas the belly is white with a single stripe along the middle in mountain zebra. Stripes fade out on lower legs but are distinctly striped all the way down in mountain zebra. Stripes on the rump run diagonally and lengthways but crossways in mountain zebra. On the rump there are usually chestnut or yellowish stripes in the middle of the white stripes whereas the stripes on the mountain zebra’s rump is solid.

Like human fingerprints and irises, each individual has a unique stripe pattern. The muzzle is black. A short, stiff mane runs down the back of the neck and the tail has a whisk of long black hair on the end. Somewhat bigger than mountain zebra: shoulder height males 1,35 m ; weight males 320kg, females 260kg.

Males are a little larger than females. Both sexes have a black stripe running vertically between their hind legs; in the males it is narrow and wide in the females. Females have one pair of mammae between their hind legs. Here is a stallion on the left and a mare on the right

Active in the cooler early morning and late afternoon. Drinks at least once a day and has a strong preference for clean water. When water is muddy it may scrape a hole into which clean water seeps or try to skim cleaner water from the surface. Home ranges cover 110-220 square kilometres. Considerable distances are covered to reach grazing.

Stallions fight viciously for control of females. Males that do not hold breeding herds join bachelor herds with dominance hierarchy depending on age. Bonds are maintained by mutual grooming. Aggression from herd stallions forces bachelors to the fringe of areas in which zebras occur. When herd stallions meet they stand and sniff nose to nose, rub their cheeks together and sniff each other’s genitals, stamp their forefeet and toss their heads. Submission is signaled by lowering of the head and holding the ears back and making chewing movements. Dominance and threats are signaled by holding the head high with ears cocked forward or turned inwards and back, showing the teeth, and chasing.