Wildlife TV

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How do baby Zebras survive?

on May 9, 2013

Previously we’re learned about how baby cheetah managed to survive in the wild. Today we’re going to talk about another African animal but instead of a predator such as the cheetah, we’re going to talk about a prey animal, the zebra!

 

Zebra Foals
Contrary to Cheetah cubs, Zebras are not born resembling a fierce creature, in fact they arrive on this planet looking exactly like what they are, a zebra. A plain, out of the ordinary, exactly like every other group member, zebra.

And this is in fact their best survival strategy.

Now you must be wondering “how does looking like a common prey animal protects them from any predators?

Ah, but they don’t just look like a normal newborn zebra, they look like an adult, ready to run, bite and kick, zebra. Predators target animals they can outrun and/or take down easily. Why waste energy on a fully developed zebra when you can have the vulnerable newborn for 1/10 of the effort and without a big chance of getting hurt in the process?

In order to be able to fool predators, zebras are born with their legs at almost the same height as an adult. Viewing a group from afar it is hard for the predator to understand, in the jumble of stripes and patterns, that there is a young and easy to get animal.

Looking at the following picture you can see how both the mother and the young’s bellies start almost at the same height.

Mother and baby Plains Zebra (Equus quagga)

Adult and young Plains Zebra (Equus quagga).
Photo Credits

Mother and baby Plains Zebra (Equus quagga)

Adult and young Plains Zebra (Equus quagga).
Photo Credits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unless the baby zebra is far from the mother, it gets hard for predators such as lions and leopards to distinguish the adult mother with the young foal by just looking at them.

On top of this, zebras have a great camouflage to help them in the wild. Having black stripes on a white body seems silly for an animal that lives in the middle of green (rainy season) and yellow (dry season) foliage but not so much when you realise that their big predators can’t see colours! Lions and leopards can only see black and white so zebras fit right in!

And their great camouflage skills don’t stop here! There’s one big cat that lives in the savannah and because it hunts during the day, it can see colour, the cheetah.

So how does a baby zebra keeps safe from cheetahs if they can see it so easily?

The fact is, when zebras are born, they are not black and white, they are brown and white and the mother will keep them hiding in dense foliage for several weeks to keep them safe.

So in conclusion, when zebras foals are born, they use their colours (white and brown) to camouflage with their surroundings to avoid predators that can see colours such as the cheetah, then they grow up to be black and white like their parents which helps them confuse lions and leopards (by now zebras are too big for cheetahs to hunt but are a good size for the other big cats). On top of this, they are born with legs as tall as the adults’ so if they are behind them, predators can’t tell there’s a baby hiding.

Hope you liked learning about the amazing world of baby zebras.
Do you want to find out how baby hippopotamus and other animals survive?
Check out our “Series” page for the list of “Baby Animals: How do they survive?

More to come!
Até à próxima.

~Sofia.

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One response to “How do baby Zebras survive?

  1. Nelma Scoggins says:

    why do twin zebra foals not survive?

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