Predators of the Zebra

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The horse-like zebra is one of Africa's most recognizable animals with its distinctive black and white stripes. Zebra can reach up to five feet in height at the shoulder and weigh between 440 and 990 lbs. making them a formidable prey animal. Coupled with the fact that they travel in herds, it takes a big predator or a pack of smaller predators to bring down a zebra.

African Lion

  • The African lion is one of the largest of the big cats, reaching lengths of 9.7 feet, nose to tail, and weighing between 265 and 420 pounds. It ranges over much of Central Africa and shares much of the zebra's natural habitat. Although a single lion is strong enough to bring down a young or sick zebra, they mainly hunt in groups and are the only big cat to do so. The collective term for a group of lions is a pride.

Leopard

  • The Leopard is a smaller member of the big cat family, around 9.7 feet in length, nose to tail, and weighing between 66 and 176 pounds. The African leopard is found throughout central and southern Africa, sharing much of the zebra's habitat. As a solitary hunter, the leopard tends to target smaller mammals such as wild pigs, deer and domestic livestock. If given the chance a leopard will tackle a sick or young zebra, using its powerful jaws to bite the throats of prey animals to suffocate them.

African Wild Dogs

  • The African wild dog is a small pack predator reaching around 43 inches in length and weighing between 39.5 and 79 pounds. The species is considered endangered and is only found in isolated populations in central Africa, sharing some of the zebra's habitat. Wild dog packs can number between 6 and 20 individuals who work together in the hunt. They often hunt small mammals such as deer and antelope but large packs are able to bring down larger prey such as wildebeest or zebra.

Nile Crocodile

  • The Nile crocodile is Africa's largest reptile, growing up to 20 feet in length and weighing upwards of 1,650 pounds. Found in most of central and southern Africa's main waterways, it is a successful ambush predator. Almost any animal that needs to go down to a water source to drink is vulnerable to the jaws of a Nile crocodile. During migrations, wildebeest and zebra swimming across rivers are particularly at risk from crocodiles.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images Anup Shah/Photodisc/Getty Images
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