What do Zebras eat ? Zebras are animals of the horse family that have the characteristic black and white stripes on their body. These animals are herbivores , that is they eat vegetation. The staple diet of zebra is grass. It is a grazer like cows. Zebras are found in large numbers in Africa’s natural landscapes. Because of the staple diet of zebra being grass, they live in grasslands and savannahs. Zebras are quite powerful and they have good stamina. For that they have to eat a lot.
Zebras have a large appetite. To fulfill this hunger, they have to graze regularly. Zebras live in very large herds and graze together. Rainfall is important for them. Therefore, in Africa zebras have to migrate for distances of more than 500 miles to go to greener pastures. This migration is a world famous event. Many photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and tourists come to Africa to witness this migration of Zebras and other animals.
What do zebras eat round the year and what they drink. Kids are quite fond of zebra and are curious to know what they eat.
- Zebras love to eat moist grass. They eat mostly the leaves. Zebras do not ruminate like cows. That is why they have to eat a lot more than cows. They cannot bring back the food ingested to chew it up again. For continuous energy and nutrition, they eat for most pat of the day. That is why they have to move to different places to get their food . However, if there is dry grass, then they eat that dry grass also. In savannahs, there are tall standing coarse grasses interspersed with moist grasses. Zebras can digest coarse grass as well. They eat coarse grass and leave some moist grass for the little grazers like rodents. The little grazers are not capable to eat the coarse grass.
- They also eat herbs and shrubs besides grass. They also eat the stems of plants and even their roots. They like to eat greener vegetation. But, green vegetation is not always available in abundant quantity. When faced with scarcity of food, they can eat bushes which are coarse. They can eat their stems and leaves. They also eat barks.
- In the zoo : Zebras that stay in zoos are fed on a diet of hay and oats. They too love oats like horses do. They can also eat other grains like millet. In some places, zebras are fed alfalfa. It is a nutritious vegetation for the zebra. So, if you are visiting a zebra in a zoo, all these things can be fed to it. And they gleefully eat all this juicy,crunchy stuff.
Zebras drink water in good amounts. They live in very large herds just like the wildebeests. This huge population of wild grazers require a lot of water and a mammoth amount of vegetation. Their need for water can put pressure on scarce water resources in savannahs. They migrate in search of rainy areas because in areas where it has rained, water is abundant and green vegetation emerges quickly. So, the herds have no shortage of delicious food and water. But, during this migration, they have to face predators like lions and crocodiles. This is the cycle that keeps going on each year in Africa.
There are three main varieties of Zebra – the plain Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra and the Mountain Zebra. The Mountain Zebra prefer small mountainous regions near coasts with land full of vegetation for them .