New arrival earns stripes in paddock

Flamingo Land is celebrating the birth of a zebra foal.
Flamingo Land is celebrating the birth of a zebra foal.

Flamingo Land is celebrating the birth of a zebra foal! The new arrival, a male, was born on Tuesday 26 June at 1am to parents Guinness and Vendela.

Up and about almost straight away, he can be found in our mixed-species exhibit of giraffe, zebra and ostrich.

Our zebras spend most of their time outside in the paddock grazing, so there’s usually a good view of the whole family.

You can find three different species of zebra in the wild, namely plains zebra, mountain zebra and Grevy’s zebra. Ours are Grant’s zebras, which are a sub-species of plains zebra.

They can be found living in central and southern Africa, in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, where their natural habitat is grassland and savannah woodland.

Grant’s zebras have vertical stripes on their front, horizontal stripes on their back legs and diagonal stripes in between.

These patterns are unique to each zebra, almost like a fingerprint, so can be used to identify individual animals.

Scientists think that the bright black and white stripes evolved to confuse predators when they bunch together in a herd, making it difficult for them to tell how many there are and which direction they’re going.

Zebras will look out for predators rather than attempt to hide from them, and if cornered will kick out and bite with sharp hooves and teeth.

With enough warning though, they can run at speeds of up to 40mph.

Wild zebras live in family groups, which are usually led by a dominant male (or stallion).

Zebra foals can stand up almost immediately after they are born, similar to other prey species who must be able to escape from predators from a very young age.

They will start eating grass within a week but aren’t fully weaned until 7-11 months old, and will disperse from the group at 1-3 years.

Young males will often group together in “bachelor herds” until they are old enough to compete for males – usually at about four years old.

Although they look like horses, they don’t neigh, and instead make a barking noise. They can also communicate with each other using facial expressions and body movements.