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Several species of zebra occur in Kenya but they are seen together as they have specialized into different ecological niches, presumably to avoid competition. The two main species are the common zebra (Equus quagga, Punda milia) and Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi). (Note: some scholars cite the extinct quagga as a subspecies, E. q. quagga, whereas others regard it as a separate species, and refer to the common zebra as Burchell's zebra, E. burchelli.)

The common zebra is about four feet (1.3 m or 12 hands) at the shoulder, eight feet (2.4 m) long and weighing 600 pounds (272 kg).

Two races of the common zebra differ in habitat and appearance. In southern Kenya zebras have a faint dark stripe in the center of each white stripe. Those from the north have pure white stripes—something of a liability as they are more striking and therefore more highly prized for the skin.

Grevy's is rarer than the common, found only in the northern part of Kenya and nearby Uganda. It can be told apart by its narrower, closer striping, which can lend it a gray appearance from a distance—good camouflage in the arid landscape. The Grevy's also a bigger species, weighing about 750 pounds (341 kg) and standing a foot (30 cm) above its smaller relative. It has a heavier build and more prominent mane, very large round ears with a long fringe of hair.

Unlike other plains animals, zebras manage always to look sleek and well-fed, no matter how long a drought. Their fat resreves are kept under the skin which must create certain heat control problems. How these are solved is not certain. If they escape predators or disease and starvation, they will live to fifteen or twenty and females take seven and a half months to bring a foal to term.

This horse congregates in large herds up to several hundred in number. It migrates with the seasonal rains and is constantly on the move in search of fresh pasture or water, from which it never strays far.

Grevy's zebra is restricted to the Horn of Africa, in the dry grassy thorn-bush of the north, east of Lake Turkana and north of the Tana River. The common zebra occurs in grasslands, open savannas and open bush, and occurs in large numbers throughout many protected areas in Africa.


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