The Burchell’s Zebra is a beautiful and welcome addition to any Kruger Park Safari. Let’s get to know this animal a little better…
The Burchell’s Zebra is an icon of the Kruger National Park and many of the surrounding areas which has a pretty silly and funny nickname, the Pajama Pony. The Zebra is a member of the Horse family and shares many visual similarities with the domestic/ wild horse, with a long whip like tail, long face, a mane on the neck and skinny legs. Where the Zebra differs from the other members of the horse family, is it is much smaller and it has the iconic white and black markings covering its body.
The Zebra is a non-seasonal breeder which means it can breed throughout the year. Most foals are born in the summer months but they can be born in any month. The Zebra has a gestation period of 340 – 400 days after which only one foal will be born. Foals are fully weaned at the age of 11 months and weigh an average of 35 kg. Zebras prefer living in small herds that consist of a single stallion, mare and all their foals. In areas with multiple watering holes, many family herds will come together to graze and drink water. Zebras usually stay in close proximity to baboons, antelope and wildebeest for increased protection. Stallions who don’t have a family her usually form their own Bachelor herd and travel together. The average age of a Herd Stallion is about 12 years. Mares reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 years and can continually give birth to foals until the age of 20.
Burchell’s Zebra aren’t local to just the Kruger National Park but can be found all over South Africa, from farms and townships, to mountains and game reserves. Zebras are a common sight and many farmers will have a few walking around on their farms. Zebras are grazers which mean they mainly eat grass and will also consume fruits and berries when they are available. There used to be a third member of the Zebra family that lived in South Africa called the Quagga, an animal that looked like a combination of a Horse and Zebra. Unfortunately, the Quagga went extinct in the 19th century, The Burchell’s and the Cape Mountain Zebra are the only species left.