Creature Feature – Hatmann’s Mountain Zebra

THE HARTMANN’S MOUNTAIN ZEBRA
Equus Zebra hartmannae

This subspecies of zebra ranges mostly in Namibia, with small populations also living in northern South Africa and southwest Angola. The live in the dry and rocky mountain areas on the edge of the Namib Desert. The zebras must wander between the mountains and sand flats to find patches of grass. Zebra’s are herbivores, grazing mostly on grasses but will also browse on trees. They forage for about 60% of the day.

The Hartmann’s zebra is white with black to dark brown stripes. It has a distinctive gridiron pattern of stripes on the rump, and a dewlap is present on the throat. The dewlap and rump pattern are only found on Hartmann’s zebra. The zebra’s height from the shoulder ranges from four to five ½ feet, and they weigh between 400-700 pounds. Males on average are slightly larger than females. Captive animals have lived as long as 40 years.

Most species or zebra are social animals that live in herds. Although very large groups can congregate during migration or in areas with favorable resources, normal social organization is usually small family and stallion groups. Herds have a rank hierarchy consisting of a dominate stallion, 1-6 adult mares, and the offspring of the last one or two years. A herd will frequently include members with disabilities of various sorts, and these members are always waited for if they lag behind others or are defended and rescued if attacked.

The Hartmann’s zebra is listed as a threatened species. There are about 9000 individuals and that number is subject to decline. A population of Hartmann’s zebra, numbered in the thousands, is in protected areas in Namibia. The largest populations are in the Namib-Naukluft and Etosha parks. Over hunting for meat and skins, the spread of human settlement, agriculture and livestock have exterminated the zebra over substantial parts of its formal range.

Interesting Facts:

  • Mountain zebras often travel 8 miles or more daily between their sleeping quarters and their source of water & grazing.
  • Like a human fingerprint, a zebra’s stripe pattern is completely individual.
  • Members of a zebra herd can identify one another by their coat patterns as well as by voice.
  • Zebra communicate by a variety of gestures, facial expressions, and sounds. Moods are indicated by changes in ear, mouth, and tail positions.
  • Zebras have shiny coats that dissipate more than 70% of incoming heat. Some scientists believe the stripes help them withstand intense solar radiation.
  • To the indigenous people of East Africa the zebra symbolizes beauty, vitality and fertility.

Information courtesy of www.mnzoo.org

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