The veldt, or savanna, of Africa is home to many wild creatures, but none less colorful than the zebra! Our very own Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is home to 3 of these black & white beauties: Telodi, Jasiri, and Okolo. It may be hard for you to tell them apart, but the zookeepers can just by looking at their stripes: each of these zebras have different patterns. In fact, in the wild, no two zebras share the same pattern of stripes! But what exactly are those stripes for? Scientists aren’t exactly sure. There are several hypotheses on what those stripes are for, including camouflage, keeping flies away (flies aren’t attracted to the black and white pattern as much), and cooling.
They may only be around 4 feet tall, but weighing in at close to 700 pounds, these mammals can cause some serious damage in a stampede. Zebras can actually run up to 40 mph! When the zookeepers are working with the animals in the veldt – part of the African Journey at the zoo – they are extra cautious. The zebras can – and do – run and kick, so the keepers make sure to give them their space and stay out of there way in they exhibit any of those behaviors.
Zebras are herbivores, so here at the zoo, they eat grasses, hay, veggies, and grain pellets twice a day. As part of their daily enrichment, the zebras are given treats like carrots. They can also be given some feeder balls or puzzle feeders full of hay.
Earn your stripes as a zoo expert and check out the zebras in the African Journey this summer!