Zebra at the Louisville Zoo

Zebra, Hartmann’s Mountain

Southwest Africa and western Angola.

Dry stony mountains and semi desert of southwest Africa.

47 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.
  • 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.