Do Zebras Eat Leaves? (Fully Answered)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Zebras are distinct not only because of their striped skin. They also have fantastic eating habits that are quite appealing.

Feeding is unquestionably an important aspect of an animal’s life. They must eat to survive, but eating properly is even more important.

Eating the wrong foods can lead to health problems or death in worse cases.

Zebras are herbivores, and as expected, they eat only plants. It is common knowledge that certain plants are toxic to animals.

As a result, there are many misconceptions about what herbivores should eat.

However, do zebra eat leaves? Let’s find out.

Do Zebras Eat Leaves? 

Do Zebras Eat Leaves

Zebras do eat leaves. Zebras are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. However, leaves are not their preferred food source.

When they have no other choice but to eat leaves, they practically take leaves.

Eating leaves, however, is not entirely safe for zebras especially if the leaves are fallen.

Fallen leaves are nearly impossible to avoid because they are carried by the wind. A zebra can die if it consumes toxic fallen leaves.

Zebras are rarely kept as pests, making it even more difficult to keep track of what they eat.

In this article, we’ll talk about what Zebras can eat. If this catches your interest then keep reading.

Here is an article I wrote on do zebras laugh?

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Leaves To Zebras?

Leaves are rich with certain contents that are beneficial to zebras. Here are some benefits of leaves to zebras.

1. Most Leaves Are Rich In Antioxidants 

Animals have chemicals called free radicals. These are chemicals produced by their metabolic activity.

Interestingly, microorganisms are killed by a healthy amount of these chemicals.

However, an excessive amount of free radicals, on the other hand, can lead to chronic illnesses.

Antioxidants come to play in situations like this. Antioxidants may reduce the likelihood of developing chronic diseases in zebras.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are antioxidants found in leaves.

They have the ability to neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing damage to the zebras’ cells.

2. Most Leaves Have The Ability To Improve The Health Of Eyesight Of Zebras 

Leaves such as pumpkin leaves contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants protect against age-related macular degeneration.

Fortunately, consuming the appropriate nutrients can reduce the chances of losing eyesight.

This leave is high in minerals that have been linked to good eyesight as the zebra ages. 

3. Almost All Leaves Are Rich In Iron 

Iron is a necessary nutrient for zebras. It helps their muscles store and use oxygen. It also helps to transport oxygen from their lungs to other regions of their body. 

Iron aids in the preservation of several critical functions in their body, including overall energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and body temperature control.

Iron present in leaves also helps to prevent anemia. A lack of iron in a zebras diet can affect how efficiently the zebras use energy.

4. Leaves Have High Content Of Vitamins And Minerals

Most leaves contain lots of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A, C, B, and E, potassium, copper, manganese.

These nutrients are known to boost immunity and perform other necessary functions.

Leaves also contain little amounts of, zinc, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Which helps to guarantee a healthy zebra.

Also check out this article I wrote on do zebras hibernate?

Do Zebras Eat Grass?

Yes, Zebras eat grass. Grass is their natural food and 90% of their diet is made up of grass. These creatures prefer to eat grass to other foods.

They love to eat grasses, especially those that are green and tall.

Grasses are very healthy for zebra and it’s great for their digestive system. Grass is essential to aid zebras’ digestion and provide the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. 

They also eat twigs and some zebras eat herbs and shrubs, especially at times when grass is scarce.

Water is also an important part of a zebra’s diet. Zebras are known to consume a gallon of water at least once a day.

That’s how much these animals love water.  

During Africa’s dry season, when there is little rain, zebras migrate or travel to follow the rains.

Zebra herds can travel up to 700 miles in search of food and water. However, wild zebras can survive for up to five days without water.

What Do Zebras Like To Eat?

Curious about what zebras eat? Well, here’s a list of other things zebras love to eat.

1. Haylage: These are grasses or other green plants that have been cut and stored without being completely dried first. This primarily applies to domesticated zebras.

It is especially important during the cooler months of autumn to early spring when pasture is scarce.

2. Fruits and vegetables: The importance of fruits and vegetables cannot be over-emphasized. Zebras can be given fruits and veggies as treats. While zebras might occasionally find a snack in the form of fallen fruit, it’s not frequent enough to be considered a part of their normal diet.

3. Shrubs: Shrubs are woody plants that have several stems and they are usually less than 3 m (10 feet) tall. Shrubs are known for strengthening immunity which is a huge plus for zebras.

4. Small trees: Zebras are also known for eating small trees as well. Small trees are trees that are 15 feet or less. They can eat these trees because they are within their reach.

5. Shoots: A plant shoot consists of any plant stem together with its appendages, leaves and lateral buds, flowering stems, and flower buds. This clearly states that zebras eat all the listed above.

6. Saplings: Zebras are also known to eat saplings. Saplings are young trees, especially the ones with slender trunks.

7. Bark: When there are minimal food options, zebras can be seen stripping bark from trees for a meal. They have well-developed teeth that can chew the bark of a tree without damage.

8. Herbs: Leafy green herbs may appear to be an apparent food source for zebras. However, zebras will only eat them in times of famine. Zebras can eat almost any variety of herb, and they particularly enjoy eating its twigs.

What Type Of Grass Do Zebras Eat

Zebras tend to prefer long, rough grass that’s high in fiber, protein, and nutrients. Here are some grasses that meet their preference;

1. Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass contains 9-16% protein which makes it very suitable for zebras. This grass is nothing short of awesome.

This grass is a great warm-season perennial grass that can withstand grazing and adapts well to moisture and fertility.

This grass grows to a height of 4 to 16 inches and has small flat leaves.

Many savannah animals, including gazelle, water buffalo, and wildebeests, consume native Bermuda grass.

Bermuda grass grows best under extended periods of high temperatures, mild winters, and moderate to high rainfall.

Temperature is the main environmental factor that limits its adaptability to tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

2. Red oat grass 

Red oat grass is the most common grass in the natural grasslands of Africa. In East Africa, it represents 16% of the grasslands.

Oat grass seems to lower cholesterol levels, as well as help lower blood sugar levels.

For domestic livestock and animals, red oat grass is an essential forage grass.

It’s interesting to note that it’s found in natural savannah grasslands and is quite appetizing to livestock, especially when they’re young.

3. Star grass

Star grass is most nutritious when grazed every 4‒5 weeks. It is rich in protein and fiber.

It has phosphorus levels of 0.1 and 0.4%, and calcium from 0.2 to 0.5% have been recorded.

Star grass offers amazing benefits to humans as well.

This grass has traditionally been used to cure lung and liver problems, as well as diarrhea and stomach problems.

According to research, it also helps to strengthen the womb.


Zebras just like most herbivores eat leaves, however, they prefer to eat grasses. Grasses make up nearly 90 percent of their diet.

Zebras are quite endangered when they eat leaves mostly especially if they aren’t domesticated zebras.

There is a high chance that they may consume fallen leaves and this can lead to death.

However, there is a very slim chance of zebras eating leaves, this is because they will pick grasses over leaves without giving a second thought.

Zebras also eat fruits and vegetables, herbs, the bark of trees, shrubs, the shoot of plants, and even short trees.

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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