Zebra at the Louisville Zoo

Zebra, Hartmann’s Mountain

Southwest Africa and western Angola.

Dry stony mountains and semi desert of southwest Africa.

Forty-seven to 51 inches at the shoulder. Weight is 600 pounds. Males are 10% larger than females.

Gestation period is 300 – 365 days. Usually bear one foal which is up and about within an hour after birth.

Wild: Tough, tall grasses
Zoo: Timothy hay, oats, and alfalfa.


  • Live in bachelor herds or permanent family herds of five to 15 mares and foals led by a stallion who protects the herd and keeps it together.
  • Different rump patterns, which are characteristic for each species, help keep the group together as they travel in follow-the-leader fashion.
  • They graze on tufted grass in the morning and late afternoon, resting under thorn bushes during the heat of the day.
  • Their voice is a low snuffling neigh or whinny like a horse’s.
  • In the Namib desert Hartmann’s zebras sniff out water and paw 3 feet down below the sand of dry river beds to uncover it, thus benefiting many desert animals.
  • A zebra’s moods are often indicated visually by changes in ear, mouth and tail positions.


  • No two zebra’s stripe patterns are identical. This makes it easier for members of a herd to recognize each other but harder for their main predator, the lion, to single one out.
  • This species has a distinctive flap of skin, a dewlap, on the underside of their neck.
  • They have a deep chest to allow for breathing while running swiftly.
  • They have high, narrow hooves for sure footing in rocky terrain.
  • Their heart weighs three times that of a Plains zebra to accommodate the increased number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells needed in a high altitude environment.
  • They can go four days without water.
  • Lions, hyenas, wild dogs, cheetahs and leopards prey on zebras, but man is the most deadly of all predators.
  • Zebras outside reserves are killed for their decorative hides and fly whisk tails.
  • To evade a predator the Hartmann’s mountain zebra can gallop up to 40 miles per hour and jump a 6-foot wall.

CITES Appendix II

Horses, Asses, and Zebras. Encyclopedia of Mammals. (Barnes & Noble, Inc.), 1999; 482.
Odd-toed Ungulates-Zebras. Encyclopedia of Animals. (Fog City Press), 1993; 178.