Grevy's zebra mother and foal

Seeing stripes

Grevy's zebra mother and foal

What's black and white and red all over? A zebra with a sunburn! Everyone knows that old riddle, but what else do you know about our striped friend, the zebra? Zebras are the wild relatives of the horse. They kind of look like horses, at least shape-wise. And at first, you may think zebras all look alike, but take a closer peek and you'll realize they each are a horse of a different color.

Grevy's zebra

Go, Grevy's!

The Grevy's zebra is the largest of the three species of zebras. It can weigh almost 1,000 pounds. And it has the skinniest stripes, which run all the way down to their white bellies and on their rump. Other zebra species have stripes on their rumps that run the other way, horizontally (side to side, not up and down). The Grevy’s legs are lined with fine striping all the way down to the hooves. They also have large, rounded ears.

Hartmann's mountain zebra

Hello, Hartmann's

On the Hartmann’s mountain zebra, which is the other kind of zebra you can see at the Safari Park, there are thin vertical black-and-white stripes on the neck and barrel (or torso). These stripes get wider and fewer as they get closer to the animal's haunches. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra’s other most recognizable feature is called a dewlap, which is an Adam's apple-like skin flap on the front of its neck.

Group of Grevy's zebras climbing up a grassy hill

Group dynamics

Some zebras like to live in little groups. Hartmann's zebra herds can have only 8 or 10 members. But for other zebras, like the Grevy's, it's "the more the merrier!" Their family groups can number up to 20.

The next time you visit the Zoo or Safari Park, see if you can figure out what type of zebra you're looking at. And here's the answer to the oldest question there is about zebras: they are black with white stripes—not the other way around!