The Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) is one of the most abundant and diverse animals of the African Plains. The iconic black and white stripes on these single-hoofed animals are believed to have various functions. The most popular of these beliefs is a type of camouflage but not in the way most animals camouflage themselves. Rather than blending in with their surroundings, the stripes on a zebra help them blend in with each other, thus making it difficult for predators to determine the size and number of zebras in the herd. These markings also serve as a deterrent of horseflies and may even work as type of temperature regulator and sunscreen. Much like our fingerprints, each zebras’ stripes are unique and can vary in pattern, width and color.
Zebras are a social animal and lives in groups called harems that are typically led by a stallion with several mares and their offspring. Several harems have been seen associating with one another to form larger herds on the African plains. They will travel thousands of miles in search of foods such as grasses and leaves. Here their major predators are lions, hyenas, and cheetahs. When a possible predator threatens the herd, the members of the herd will alert each other and the head stallion will fight while his herd runs.
The conservation status of the zebra varies from not endangered to vulnerable depending on the subspecies.