Grant's Zebra

African Savanna

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
Height:
4 feet
4 feet
Length:
7-8 feet
7-8 feet
Weight
500-700 pounds
500-600 pounds
Maturity:
16-22 months
16-22 months

Geographic Range

Africa, throughout southeastern Africa, from northern Zimbabwe to the Sudan

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Equus burchelli-bohmi
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Perissodactyla
Family:
Equidae
Genus:
Equus

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet:
Herbivorous
Activity Time Frame:
Diurnal
Interactivity:
Social
Sexual Dimorphism:
Yes
Gestation:
361-390 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
20 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
40 years

Conservation

Status:
Threats:

Characteristics

Black base color with contrasting white stripes continuing all the way down to its hooves, with a short, upright mane.

Species Specifics

The Three-Toed Box Turtle has a tan or olive carapace with darker seams and some vague markings. They also have orange, red and yellow spots on their head and forelimbs.The defining characteristic of this turtle is its toes. It has three toes on its back feet, thus why its known as the Three Toed Box Turtle. Hybrid Three Toed Box Turtles who have been interbred with Common Box Turtles sometimes have four toes instead of three. Sexual Dimorphism: males are larger. Males are slightly larger on average, the posterior lobe of their plastron is concave, and the claws on their hind legs are short, thick and curved. Males also have thicker and longer tails. Females' rear claws are longer, straighter and more slender, and the posterior lobe of their plastron is flat or slightly convex. There are four subspecies of Terrapene carolina in the United States. Terrapene carolina bauri (Florida Box Turtle) lives on the peninsula of Florida. Terrapene c. major (Gulf Coast Box Turtle) ranges from the panhandle of Florida westward along the Gulf cost to eastern Texas. Terrapene c. triunguis (Three-toed Box Turtle) lives in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into southcentral Texas; and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands.

Physical Characteristics

Capable of running 40mph!- Zebras use hooves and teeth in defense!- There is much discussion about the adaptive value of stripes, but none of the theories has consensus.

Ecology

Habitat

Open savanna

Distribution

From northern Zimbabwe to the Sudan in East Africa. Inhabits grasslands, especially those with scattered trees.

Diet

Mostly herbivorous. Primarily graze on grass. Also occasionally browse on herbs, leaves and twigs.

Ecological Web

Zebras play an important role in the stability and dynamics of grazing communities where they live. They are the first to move in during grass succession, chomping down on old growth and stems which keeps vegetation young and growing. This opens up grazing opportunities for wildebeests, gazelles and topis which are more picky about the vegetation they consume.Zebra herds leave the grazing area during the dry season and in doing so trample the land and stimulate grass growth. This, along with their selection of grass stems, increases the quantity and quality of vegetation.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Like most reptiles, activity is temperature dependent, preferring conditions that are moist, humid, and warm. Ideal temperature is 80-95°F and they are more active during rainy periods and immediately after it has rained. During drought, turtles may spend time in burrows and in excessive heat turtles will seek out shallow pools of water to soak in. In fall months turtles are observed basking in the sunlight for energy. In Northern climates turtles will enter hibernation in late October. In places like Florida, turtles are active year around.

Behavior

The gecko will lick its eye to clean it from dust and other particles.

Social Behavior

Grant's zebras live in stable family groups of up to 17 animals headed by a single stallion. (Sometimes two stallions are part of the group, but one will be dominant.) Mares stay with the group; offspring leave. Females establish a dominance hierarchy. During travel, group is led by the dominant female and her foal, followed by other females in their order of dominance. Members recognize each other by sight primarily, but also by voice and smell. Families maintain close bonds even during extended migrations with thousands of other zebra and wildebeest. The stallion is the rear guard when the family flees from a predator. Zebras are gregarious under conditions of abundant food or around water holes. Males have displays, including a sort of barking whinny, which seem to minimize aggression at such times.

Reproductive Behavior

Zebras are polygynous; one male stallion leads and mates with a harem of females. Male-male competition is not significant, once males obtain a female, there seems to be a 'gentleman's agreement' between the stallion that this female has been taken and cannot be lured away.

Offspring

Under ideal conditions, a female may produce a foal every year.

Conservation

Status

Grant's zebras are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. They can eat coarse grass and are resistant to diseases that affect cattle, so as long as the African plains exist, so will these zebra. Two rarer species are in danger, however- the Grevy's Zebra (endangered) and the Mountain Zebra (threatened).

Historical

Due to a widespread, consistent and persistent decline of the species, the ICUN considers the Box Turtle to be a Vulnerable Species. The decline is associated with anthropogenic causes, or manmade causes centering on urbanization. Agricultural use of pesticides within a shared water shed has negatively impacted young turtle survivability due to malformed eggs. Introduction of synanthopic predator species, (species who live near and benefit mutually from human settlement and urban habitats) such as ravens, coyotes and raccoons, are increasing in numbers as humans continue to urbanize.

Current Threats

Introduced Non-Native, Domestic, and Invasive Species

Our Role

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How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

Fascinating Facts

The zebra is the only grazer to have both upper and lower incisors; it can thus snip the grass blade (rather than yanking it out), exposing the tender under grasses for others. The antelope of the plains rely on the zebra to open up the grasslands for them, removing the tough outer layers to expose nutritious parts.

The Iriquois and other Native Americans used them for food, medical, ceremonial, burial and hunting purposes.

Of all the Gerrhosaururidae lizards (Plated lizards) they are the most armored.

References

Kingdon, Jonathan 1979. East African Mammals, Vol III, Part B.Academic Press, San Francisco.

MacDonald, David 1984. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File.

Moss, Cynthia 1982. Portraits in the Wild. University of Chicago Press.

Nowak, Ronald. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th Ed, Vol II, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Colvin, L. and C. Nihranz 2009. "Equus burchellii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 09, 2016 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Equus_burchellii/