The Plains Zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchellii), also known as the common zebra or Burchell's zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. It ranges from the south of Ethiopia through East Africa to as far south as Botswana and eastern South Africa. The plains zebra remains common in game reserves, but is threatened by human activities such as hunting for its meat and hide, as well as competition with livestock and encroachment by farming on much of its habitat.
The plains zebra is mid-sized, smaller on average than the other two zebra species, and thick bodied with relatively short legs. There is some variation in size, based on the animals' condition and subspecies. Adults of both sexes can stand from 1.1 to 1.47 m (3.6 to 4.8 ft) high at the withers (shoulder), are 2 to 2.5 m (6.6 to 8.2 ft) long, not counting a 50 cm (20 in) tail, and weigh 175 to 387 kg (386 to 853 lb). About 14.2hh to 16.0 hh. Males may weigh 10% more than females.
The plains zebra's range stops short of the Sahara from South Sudan and southern Ethiopia extending south along eastern Africa, as far as Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi, before spreading into most southern African countries. They are regionally extinct in Burundi and Lesotho, and they may have lived in Algeria in the Neolithic Era.
The plains zebra is highly social and usually forms small family groups called harems, which consist of a single stallion, several mares, and their recent offspring. The adult membership of a harem is highly stable, typically remaining together for months to years. Groups of all male "bachelors" also exist. These are stable groups of 2-15 males with an age-based hierarchy lead by a young male. These males stay in their groups until they are ready to start a harem. The bachelors prepare for their adult roles with play fights and greeting/challenge rituals, which take up most of their activities. Multiple harems and bachelor groups come together to form herds. Plains zebras are unusual among harem-holding species in forming these groups. In addition, pairs of harems may create temporarily stable subgroups within a herd, allowing individuals to interact with those outside their group. Among harem-holding species, this has only been observed in primates like the gelada and the hamadryas baboon.
- Shelter: Grass Umbrella, Large Stable, Small Stable
- Enrichment: Salt Lick
- Animal Food: Carrots, Grass, Hay