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Zebras, the striking black and white striped relative of the horse, is a member of the genus Equus. Zebras live only in Africa and roam the Savannah in vast herds. There are three extant species of zebra: the plains zebra, the mountain zebra, and the Grévy’s zebra.
As striking as adult zebras are to behold, their babies are equally adorable. You might wonder…
What Is A Baby Zebra Called?
Similar to their more common cousin, the horse, a baby zebra is called a foal. Foal refers to baby zebras of any gender. Also like horses, young zebras have separate names for male and female babies. A female baby zebra is a filly, while a male baby zebra is a colt.
At birth, baby zebras actually have a brown and white pattern as opposed to the black and white pattern of adult zebras. Their stripes will darken as they age. The exception to this rule is the now extinct Quagga. This extant species bore brown stripes their whole lives.
Until three years of age, baby zebras can be referred to as foals. These hefty babies are born after an 11 – 13 month gestation period, and they can weigh up to 110 pounds at birth!
Baby zebras are also pretty fast learners. A baby zebra learns to stand in about fifteen minutes and to walk within two hours of birth.
It’s a good thing these infants learn to stand so quickly because, in order to nurse, they’ll need to be tall enough to reach their mother. Zebra foals will nurse for around a year but can graze on grass much sooner, sometimes as early as two weeks.
Baby zebras are vulnerable to predators like wild dogs, but adult zebras are incredibly protective over their young. If there is any chance of danger, the entire herd will move to protect the foals.
What Is A Male Baby Zebra Called?
A male baby zebra is called a colt, while we know a mature adult male zebra as a stallion.
Colts, just like any other baby zebra, remain with their mothers until they are weaned, which is around one year of age. Once these male zebra babies reach sexual maturity, they will usually leave the herd.
Male zebras are territorial and won’t allow other stallions near their group of females, known as a harem. Zebra stallions can become violent with other males that are less dominant than they are, and will drive young male zebras out of the herd.
The males that are driven out will eventually form their own herd.
What Is A Female Baby Zebra Called?
A female baby zebra is known as a filly, and we know an adult female zebra as a mare.
Fillies are also weaned around one year of age, but unlike their male counterparts, they stay with the herd throughout their lives
Some groups of adult female zebras will form groups of mothers and babies, known as kindergartens. In these kindergartens, the mares will raise multiple foals together. This allows more freedom and protection for the babies.
Mares can identify their foal in the sea of striped babies because each zebra is born with a unique pattern, like a fingerprint. No set of stripes is alike!
Baby zebras are all called foals, but male foals are also known as colts, and female foals are also known as fillies.
These babies are quickly independent, although they stay with their mothers for around a year. They grow up in a strong, safe herd environment.
Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see one of these striped babies at your next zoo visit!