Weekly Photo Challenge: Together (Zebra Mare & Foal)

"Lean On Me" (Zebra Mother & Very Young Colt) Copyright Anne M. Freeman

 This week’s  photo challenge is “Together.”  I offer up this photo of a Burchill’s Zebra mare and colt.  The colt is probably only a few weeks old, if that.  Zebra colts are brown-striped, like this little guy.   Like all four-legged prey, they can stand and run shortly after birth.  This colt appears to be tired because it is leaning heavily on its mother.  The pose you see is one that will be repeated during the colt’s entire life.  Zebras pair up like this because it provides them with a 360 degree view of their surroundings, important to staying alive!  So, this pose is not just affection, it’s a strategy, too, that all plains zebras employ against their primary predator, the lion (link to my photos of lions), as well as against hyenas and leopards.

These are Burchill’s Zebras (Equus burchelli), which were named after famed explorer William Burchill, who explored  southern African during 1810-1815.  Many of his specimens went to the British Museum.  This photo was taken in the Ngorongoro Caldera (or Crater) in Tanzania, which is known for it’s red dirt and fertile savannah, home to a complete ecosystem of animals and plants.  Zebras and other prey animals like to stand on the dirt roads and tracks in the game parks because they can more easily see predators trying to sneak up on them, and because there are fewer insects in the dirt than in the grasses.

There is debate about the purpose of zebra’s stripes. Some say that the stripes make it difficult for lions to discern individuals in a group.  Lions and other predators typically hunt by selecting one individual and separating it from the group.  You can see how that might be the case in the photo I took right into a herd of zebra, below.  Another theory is that zebra’s stripes make it blend in with the grasses, making them difficult for lions to see them in the tall grass (lions are said to be color blind).  One other theory is that the stripes are a ploy to confuse Tsetse flies and other flies, who don’t see the Zebras as a whole animal and will be less likely to bite them.  Whatever the reason or reasons, each zebra is uniquely striped and that is one way that zebras recognize one another.  It also makes them stunning to look at.

"Into The Herd" (Zebras) - Copyright Anne M. Freeman

Zebras have never been successfully domesticated.  Zebras are reported to have undependable personalities and tend to panic under duress.  Our safari guides told us that zebras have weak backs and cannot take the weight of riders or be used as pack animals.  I am glad that they can’t. because they are so wonderful to watch in the wild.

There is a debate about whether zebras are black with white stripes or white with black stripes.  The prevailing thought is that they are white with black stripes because of their white bellies and inner ears.  Recent research reports that embryonic zebras are black and they develop the white stripes and bellies as they develop.

Zebras are fairly big animals.  They can be 5′ tall and, depending upon the subgroup, they can weigh 500-800 pounds.  Zebras will defend themselves by kicking and biting.  A full-grown zebra can kill a large predator with a well-placed kick!  Lions and other predators will not go into a herd of zebras directly because they would risk injury or death.  They will scare herds into stampedes with the hope that an individual will be injured and left behind for them to capture.  I witnessed this strategy by a pride of lionesses (link to my photos of a lion pride hunting) hunting zebra.

Finally, they are just really cool looking!  I had some fun with one of my herd photos, below, that reminded me of my youth, head shops and psychedelia.  I’d love to see your posts for “Together.”  Feel free to include a link to your post in your comments below.  Have fun!

"In The Pink" (Zebras) Copyright Anne M. Freeman

Other wonderful contributions for this photo challenge:







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89 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Together (Zebra Mare & Foal)

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Together | Wind Against Current

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Together « The Urge To Wander

    • We were fortunate that day. As I mentioned in the article, the zebras like to stand on the dirt roads. We sometimes had to wait for them to move because they didn’t want to give up ground to the vehicles. It was fantastic!

  3. I love the zebras standing together in a group … it makes for an interesting shot. And that foal just makes you want to go cuddle him … so,so cute! 🙂

    • They are so darling, those little ones! I have trouble imagining how they can stand and run so quickly, like any lunch on four legs. Nature is amazing. Notice how long the foal’s legs are – they are nearly as long as the adults.

  4. Wow, these were great photos for the challenge! My first thought after seeing your first picture was “Awe so cute”. I enjoyed reading the information you wrote about them. After seeing the first photo, I was wondering why the foal had mostly brown stripes, but I didn’t have to wonder long because you told why in your writing. The second photo is great, as well, and I could visualize the reasons you gave for the stripes and colors of the zebras. Fantastic post!

  5. Great pictures, the top one is really lovely and the other ones are like where’s wally – you cannot see a whole Zebra!

  6. Anne, these zebra shots are stunning!! I also learned so much about zebras!! Thank you so much for sharing all your great knowledge and your beautiful photos… 🙂

  7. Amazing shots. The herd of zebras was very disconcerting. You really have to concentrate to see a complete zebra. Maybe, as you suggested, that is the main reason for their stripes; to confuse the lions preying on them. The last photo certainly reminds me of my hippie days in San Francisco! Love it. Love them all.

    • Nice to hear from you, Cardinal. I believe that’s as good a reason for the stripes as we’ll get. Your eyes go crossed when you see them moving in a tight group like that. Cheers!


    • Hi Amira. Thanks for coming by. If you can at all possibly go on a Safari, I highly recommend it! Seeing the animals in their native environment and behaving naturally is a thrill. Hope you do it!


  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Together… | Mirth and Motivation

  9. Dear Anne, I loved this post,and thank you for joining me on my blog. I’d like to send you my recent entry for 2 of the Weekly Challenges, as I think you may enjoy them. Together is a photograph of two baby elephants that I drew in 1995 http://craftcrazygran.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-together/. The 2nd is a Bull elephant looking at me from behind a tree trunk http://craftcrazygran.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/. I hope you enjoy them

    • Thank yho, CCG. I enjoyed your elephant posts. Thanks for sending them. Aren’t the animals of Africa amazing? We are so fortunate to have seen them up close and personal.


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