Zebra's Habitat: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: April Gwen Ellsworth

April has a master's degree in psychology and has experience teaching special populations from preschoolers to adults.

Zebras live well in several different kinds of habitats. Some habitats are dry and like a desert, some have lots of grass and plenty of rain, while other zebra habitats are mountainous. Read on to learn more in this lesson about the variety of African habitats where zebras live.

Zebra Habitats

The zebra is a strong, social animal that lives in the southeastern countries of Africa. Africa is a very large continent with a variety of habitats. It also has just two seasons. In the dry season from October through March, not much rain falls and plants grow slowly. In the wet season, there is much rain, plants grow very well again, and animals have plenty to eat and drink.

Africa actually has three main kinds of zebras: the plains zebra, Grevy's zebra, and the mountain zebra. All three are alike in many ways, but their stripe patterns and size are the main things that make them a little different from each other. They also live in three different areas of Africa.

Plains Zebra

The plains zebra is the most common of the three zebras. They are medium-sized, have thick bodies, and shorter legs. Plains zebras live in several countries, from Sudan to Zimbabwe.

Plains zebras live in savannas and temperate grasslands (plains). These are large areas covered with grass and other plants. Savannas also have some trees, but plains have only a few or no trees at all.

Plains zebras are the most common zebras and live on the plains and savannas of Africa.

As you can imagine, plains zebras eat mostly grass. Bermuda grass is one type of thick grass that grows low to the ground and survives well even during the dry season, so there is usually plenty of it for zebras.

When in the savannas, zebras have more choices of plants to eat, and all of them do well in the dry season, which is good news for the plains zebra! One example is the river bushwillow, a shrub with yellow flowers and leaves that change colors with the seasons. Zebras also eat okra fruit, as well as leaves from trees like the umbrella thorn acacia (watch out for those thorns!), the baobab tree, and the Jackalberry tree.

Grevy's Zebra

Grevy's Zebras are the largest of the three zebras. You can easily spot them by their stripes that are thinner and closer together. They also live on the plains and savannas like the plains zebra, but farther north in the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. However, in some parts of Kenya these two zebras live in the same areas.

Grevy's zebras eat mostly grass, too, but also fruit, leaves, and bark from trees. Some of the area where Grevy's zebras live is called scrublands. These areas have bushes or shrubs, a lot of different herbs, like rosemary and oregano, as well as grasses to eat.

Grevys zebra live in plains, savannas, and scrublands.

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