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Pilanesberg National Park | 08 Dec 2014 | By Sun International

5 Things you Probably Didn’t Know about Zebras

According to the San legend many moons ago the zebra was completely white…

Once resembling a milk bottle, the stripes that we know and love today were acquired after a nasty fight with a baboon. After kicking the baboon so hard, the angry zebra lost his balance and tripped over a blazing fire. As fate would have it, the burning logs in the fire left scorch marks all over the zebra and so the fashionable zebra that we know today was revealed.

Folk tales aside, the scientific reason for the zebra's stripes has something to do with camouflage since from a distance the stripes merge to form a vaguely grey mass that is sure to confuse hungry lions and other predators. Other theories regarding the zebra's stripes claim that the stripes are fly and heat repellents while also serving as a visual cue for identification.

Did you know? Despite the zebra's white belly, embryological evidence points to the fact that the zebra's background colour is black.

For more fun facts to regale your family with next time you're at Carousel Casino's self-catering Acacia Place overlooking a zeal of zebras, read on and remember that you can also find zebras wandering the grounds of the Royal Livingstone and the Zambezi Sun.

"This place is crack-a-lacking! Oh, I could hang here. I could hang here." – Madagascar's Marty the zebra referring to the island of Madagascar but also probably the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

5 things you probably didn't know about zebras:

  1. Zebras have excellent eyesight and scientists believe that they may be able to see colour. In fact, their optical gifts are so well-known that wildebeest hang out around zebras for security (and presumably good conversation).

    Tip: Zebras are most active in the early morning and late afternoon so if you want to make the most of your zebra encounter at the Zambezi Sun, remember to keep an eye out before brekkie and after lunch.

  2. In Native American shamanism, the zebra is the symbol of clarity without obstruction, sureness of path and balance.

    Tip: Click here and help your kids draw a zebra with this fun tutorial.

  3. Several attempts were made to domesticate zebras. However, due to their tendency to panic and unpredictable nature (see folk tale above) these attempts have largely been unsuccessful.

    Did you know? Zoological collector Walter Rothschild used zebras to draw a carriage and once even took a trip in a zebra-drawn carriage to Buckingham Palace in an effort to prove that his striped friends could be tamed.

  4. In Ancient Rome, Grevy's zebra then known as "hippotigris" (horse-tiger) were used to pull chariots at Roman circuses.
  5. Speaking of Grevy's zebra - In 1882, the emperor of Abyssinia, Menelik ll presented Jules Grevy, the president of France with a zebra as a gift and so the name Grevy zebra was created.