Let’s start looking at some animals!
Africa is an amazing place with some pretty amazing creatures!.
Perhaps people who are not from America think the same thing about our wildlife… but somehow I doubt it.
I can’t imagine there are too many people who get giddy with excitement, wildly pointing while exclaiming, “Look! It’s a rabbit!”
And perhaps the people who live in Africa are quite used to their spectacular creatures, as well.
Somehow I don’t think so, though.
The first animal photo I want to share form our safari is a pretty straightforward photo of a zebra.
Zebras are rather plentiful in Kenya. In fact, if you’re lucky, you may even see zebras in the nearby fields as you are driving away from the Nairobi airport.
Zebras were the first animals we saw when we entered the Masai Mara National Reserve—and we saw plenty of them. Somehow, though, it never got old.
What an amazing creature!
Did you know:
- There are actually three living species of Zebra on the earth today. (1) the Plains Zebra, (2) the Grevy’s Zebra, and (3) the Mountain Zebra. Each of the three species can be identified by differences in their stripes. There are many sub-species of Zebras, but the one found in Masai Mara is the plains Zebra, which has broader stripes than any other Zebra subspecies.
- Even though Zebras seem numerous, the Grey’s Zebra is actually endangered—with only an estimated 2,250 in existence. The Mountain Zebra is considered to be “threatened”, and the Plains Zebra is “near threatened”
- Zebras are obviously well known mostly for their stripes, but like fingerprints on a human, the stripes of a Zebra are completely unique. In fact, some scientists have even developed a way to read the stripes of zebras like bar codes, which allow them to identify specific zebras within a heard.
- No one actually knows why zebras have stripes. Many animals have unique features that help them blend in with their environment, or serve to defend them against predators. Zebras… not so much. With their black and white stripes, they stick out like a sore thumb, and they don’t really have much going on to defend them. They have scissors-like front teeth that helps them to cut grass, and then flat molar-like back teeth to help them chew the grass… and that’s about it.
- It is possible that the stripes were given by God to help confuse predators. Studies have shown that biting flies don’t like to land on stripes, so perhaps the coat design of the Zebra was just a display of God’s mercy. Some scientists have also speculated that perhaps the stripes help to keep Zebras cooler in the hot, African sun.
- While the debate has raged on and on whether Zebras are black with white stripes, or white with black stripes, there is actually a definitive answer. Zebras are, in fact, black with white stripes. Zebras have black skin under their hair.
- Zebras are friends with the Wildebeest. In fact, zebras join in on the great wildebeest migration each year. During the migration, zebras and wildebeests depend on one another for survival. Zebras serve as the eyes, and wildebeest serve as the ears. They work together in a pack to try to evade the countless predators they will encounter along the way. Even still, it is estimated that over a quarter of a million wildebeests and more than 30,000 zebras die each year during the migration!
- Zebras are considered to be one of the fastest land animals on the planet. They are capable of running at speeds of 36 mph, which is faster than some of their predators, including lions. If they can avoid the initial lunge of an attack, they can typically run faster and longer than anything trying to attack it (except, of course, for the cheetah).