Lesson Plan - Get It!
What kind of animal do you see in the picture above? What is that crazy horse wearing?
Zebras are a part of the horse family that can be found living in herds all over Africa.
A herd is a big group of animals that stick together. Herds are made up of multiple zebra families. The leader of the herd, the stallion (male zebra), stays in the back of the herd. The stallion stays in the back of the herd as protection. He will use his strong hooves to kick oncoming predators. Lions, hyenas, and cheetahs are common predators that threaten the lives of zebras. These predators hunt zebras for food.
The first thing you probably notice about a zebra is its beautiful black and white stripes. Each zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes. This means each zebra has its own special stripe pattern. This is similar to how no two snowflakes are alike, and how all humans have different fingerprints.
Scientists believe zebras have stripes because this allows them to blend in with each other and tall grasses. This makes it hard for predators like lions to hunt them. Lions can only see in black and white. Imagine you are a lion hunting zebras. All you can see is shades of grey, black, and white. When all these striped zebras start running in different directions, it is hard for you to see where the zebras are going and to pick a specific zebra to hunt. This is one way zebras are able to escape vicious predator attacks! Scientists also believe the stripes make zebras invisible to harmful, biting bugs!
Zebras are always on the move! They spend the majority of their day grazing on tall grasses and searching for water. They have teeth that are specially designed for eating grass. Their sharp front teeth allow them to bite and rip out grass, while their back teeth are used to grind the grass they are eating. Even though the teeth of a zebra never stop growing, grazing helps wear them down and keeps them from overgrowing.
Zebras keep each other clean by using their teeth to clean each other's fur! They also communicate with each other by making sounds and moving their ears and tail. If you ever see a zebra with its ears down, it could indicate that there is danger nearby or that the zebra is angry.
Tell your parent or teacher at least two facts you learned about zebras. After sharing your two facts, move on to the Got It? section to create your very own camouflage artwork.