Zoology & Botany

zebra

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy zebra in advance, as well as a sample of striped cloth

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of a zebra.) This is a mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Mammals that live on land are warm blooded, have 4 legs and ears that stick out. (Point to the zebra) Say: Zebras are heavy bodied animals that are perfectly designed for speed with their long and slender legs and narrow hooves helping them to reach speeds of 40kph when running. Like horses, they only have a single toe on each foot which they walk on the tip of and is protected by their tough hooves. (Approach the striped piece of cloth) Say: Look at these stripes, baby! (They look like zebra´s stripes!) Their black and white stripes are unique to each individual and help them to identify each other when in the herd. These stripes are also believed to be camouflage devices that help zebras hide well in the grass. Zebras have long necks and heads that mean they can easily reach the grass on the ground and a mane that extends from their forehead and along their back to the tail.

Go back to the picture of the zebra. Say: let’s find zebra’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, nose, mouth, body, legs: 1,2,3,4; and tail. Zebras are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. They often live in herds made up of one male, several females and their offspring. The male called ¨stallion¨ stays at the back of the herd to fight off predators so the females and off springs can run away. Zebras sleep standing up, and only when they are in groups that can warn them of danger. They have several ways to communicate with each other. Facial expressions, such as wide-open eyes or bared teeth, all mean something. They also bark, bray, snort or huff to get their point across. Even the position of their ears can signal their feelings.

Sheep are living things and need energy to survive. Zebras are herbivorous and primarily eat a variety of grasses. They are also known to eat shrubs, herbs, twigs, leaves and bark. Mating season is year round. Female zebras carry their young for a gestation period of 12 to 14 months. The mother normally gives birth to one baby; twins are extremely rare Baby zebras are called foals and they can start walking 20 minutes after being born, and run after an hour. For the first two to three days, the mother will keep all other zebras away from her and the baby so the baby can recognize her by smell, sight and voice. The young zebra gets its nutrition from its mother's milk and will continue to nurse throughout its first year.

Zebras are found inhabiting the open grasslands and plains of East and Southern Africa where they spend almost of their time grazing on the grasses. The zebra's biggest threats are habitat loss due to ranching and farming and competition for water with livestock. They are also hunted for their skins. We need to take care of Zebras and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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