Zebras are African members of the horse family (they are more closely related to donkeys than horses). Are zebra’s white animals with black stripes? Not according to native Africans. They maintain zebras are black animals with white stripes. And they are correct. The extinct South African zebra, the Quagga was a dark brown to black animal with white stripes. Every zebra has a unique set of stripe patterns; no two zebras are the same.
We have two different kinds of African zebra: Grants zebras from East Africa; and the larger Damara zebras from Southern Africa. Zebras are found in in deserts, grasslands, and bushland, but their preferred habitat is the savanna. Up to 200,000 zebra and 1.4 million wildebeest migrate continuously across the Serengeti in Kenya in search of fresh grazing. The great annual migration of is one of nature’s great spectacles.
Currently, the Bowmanville Zoo has a group of 5 zebras.
Facts & Myths
- There were zebras living in Canada until 10,000 years ago. Zebras today are still very hardy, and love rolling in the snow.
- To keep themselves clean, zebras will roll in sand or dust – this keeps their coats clean and removes old hair and skin. Watch out for them doing that when you are at the zoo.
- Zebras do not whinny like horses, they bark! Listen for zebra calls.
- Zebras were used for Ancient Roman processions, they were called “tiger horses.”
- Zebras are considered untrainable. Many are but we are very lucky to have two of the best trained and friendliest zebras in the world.
Zebras at the Bowmanville Zoo
Pepsi and Major are our trained Zebras. They have starred in numerous TV shows and movies. Their biggest role was in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. This movie was filmed in Toronto and was lots of fun for our zebras. Wherever our trained zebras are on set, their minder goes with them – Rusty the miniature horse. He keeps them content and happy, and also acts as the go to person. If we need the zebras to go from A to B, we place Rusty at B and the zebras go to him on cue!
Visitors can observe the zebras in the African Savanna yard with the other African hoofstock. You can also see the zebras in our Animatheatre Shows. Shows are free, included in admission.
Monkey biscuits suitable for feeding many of the zoos animals including the lemurs are available at the entrance and cost $2 per bag.
Never feed any of the zoo animals food that has not been provided by zoo staff. You could make them very sick.