Do Zebras Live In The Jungle?

If you want to find out where zebras live, why they have stripes, and if they’re related to horses, you’ve come to the right place.

Do zebras live in the jungle? Zebras do not live in the jungle. They are actually absent from jungle habitats, as well as desert, rainforest, and wetland habitats. Instead of the jungle, zebras can be found in the grasslands and savanna woodlands in Africa. Zebras have a wide range in Africa where they live and can be found in parts of Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  

Why can’t zebras live in the jungle? 

The answer to this comes down to the zebra’s diet. Zebras mostly eat grass. And they prefer to eat grass that is green and short. In a pinch, they can chow down on other types of grass, but in general, they like their specific type of grass.

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90% of a zebra’s diet is grass! The remaining 10% of their diet comes from leaves, twigs, herbs, and shrubs. These are all foods that are found easily in the grasslands and the savanna woodlands, but not so much in the jungle. 

In jungles, there are plenty of plant-eaters like zebras, but they have a little bit of a different selection. Jungle herbivores eat a lot of fruit (like bananas), vegetables, flower bugs, aquatic plants, seeds, roots, and nuts. In the jungle, which is overgrown with trees, vines, and other plants, it would be hard for the zebra to find their short, green grass.  

Are zebras related to horses? 

Zebras and horses look quite a bit alike, except for the zebra’s famous black and white stripes. So are they related? Interestingly enough, zebras are actually a species of wild horses! So while they are horses, they are an entirely different species of the horses that we ride and see on horse ranches and farms.  

Unlike horses, zebras cannot be ridden or trained. Zebras have a much more aggressive temperament than horses and they do not like to be controlled or tamed.

One reason for this is that horses have a “herd mentality” in which there is a leading alpha horse leading the “team” of horses. On the other hand, zebras do not have this herd mentality. While they do live in a herd of other zebras, they do this because it is safer to live in a group than to live alone, as opposed to following the leader of the flock. 

Compared to horses, zebras are generally smaller. Zebras usually get to be about four to five feet tall, whereas horses are usually around six feet tall. In terms of their build, zebras look more similar to one of their other relatives – the donkey.  

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Why do zebras have stripes? 

Zebras have a dark black coat that is broken up by white, unpigmented hair, which gives them their striping patterns. Scientists are not exactly sure why zebras are striped, but they have three main theories.  

1.   One theory of why zebras have stripes is because of flies. If you have ever been around a horse, you probably noticed flies swarming all around the horse. Flies can cause diseases in animals and make them very sick, but it has been discovered that flies tend not to land on striped surfaces. So fewer flies will go around zebras than horses, which help to prevent fly borne illnesses in zebras.  

2.   The next theory surrounds stripes helping a zebra to regulate its body temperature. The idea is that the black part of a zebras coat will absorb heat in the cooler mornings to help the zebra warm-up and the white part of the coat would work to reflect the sunlight from the zebra and cool them down as they are in the blazing sun all day.  

3.   The last common theory is that zebra’s stripes help them to hide from predators. Zebras spend most of their time in grasslands where their wavy stripes blend in with the tall grasses. The zebra’s biggest predator is the lion and lions are colorblind. If a zebra is standing still in the tall grasses, it may cause lions to overlook them.  

Whatever the reason for having stripes, it makes zebras look one of a kind and unique – literally! Every zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes, much like how every person in the world has a different fingerprint.