Plains zebra, Africa, up to 1.5 m (5 ft) high at the shoulder Many members of the horse family have beautiful colouring or markings, but the zebra is the most spectacular of all. The black and white stripes, which are unique to each zebra, may serve as camouflage seen from a distance against the long grass; or as a means of confusing predators by making it hard for them to pick out individual zebras; or a way for zebras to recognize each other. The markings also camouflage the zebra against the tsetse fly, which spreads sleeping sickness. Zebras gather in herds to graze on the savanna plains or scrublands of Africa. Their main diet is grass, but they also eat bark, leaves, buds and fruit.
A herd of plains zebrasZebras live in family groups, known as "harems", consisting of a male (stallion) a number of females and their foals. Male zebras will fight for the right to lead a harem. When attacked by predators, such as hyenas or wild dogs, a zebra group will try to huddle together around the foals while the stallion attempts to ward them off.
Where food is plentiful, especially on the savanna, these groups come together to form herds of sometimes thousands of individuals, but the family ties remain strong with in the herd.
No two sets of stripes are exactly the same from one zebra to the next.
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