Social animals fit into certain criteria. Man is a popular example of a social animal. The zebra too is another example of a social animal.
The big question now is; what are social animals?
What qualifies an animal to be classified as a social animal? Why are zebras called social animals and how social are they?
Do they have a means of communication? Of what importance are zebras to people? Is there something to note about the zebra community?
If you have these questions ringing in your head, then you need not worry because this article has all the answers you need. Just sit back, relax, and have a nice read!
Are Zebras Social Animals?
Zebras move in herds and basically do things together, including grazing and grooming.
They also live in small family groups called Harem.
Each Harem consists of a stallion (dominant male), several females (up to six, with the dominant mare leading the others) and their offspring. In total, there are about five to twenty zebras in a harem.
These family groups come together to form a herd consisting of thousands of zebras. Members of each family stay together but remain in the herd.
When a predator attacks any zebra in the herd, the others move to rescue the attacked zebra and drive the predator away.
If a member goes missing in the herd, the others will embark on a search hunt until it is found; even if this will take days.
When a member falls sick, the others will adjust their pace to accommodate the sick member so it can tag along.
The stallion, which is the head of each family group will do all it can to protect its family and to keep other stallions away from its territory.
However, a particular species of zebra, the Grevy’s Zebra do not have communities, hence they do not live in herds.
Their stallions establish their territory and allow the mares to cross over for breeding.
Once the mare gives birth, she nurtures the foal until it is strong enough to travel, then she moves out of the territory with the foal.
Here is an article I wrote on can zebras live with cows?
What Are Social Animals?
Social animals are species of animals that are inclined to a group.
Animals are said to be social when there is a high level of interaction between members of the community, and not because they live close to each other.
Social animals are known for their cooperative and helpful behavior, altruism or even division of labor.
They have sets of rules guiding their interaction with the group which they strictly adhere to.
These animals live in families and a combination of many different families make up a community.
A community consists of individuals of the same species grouped into families; each performing specific roles.
Members of a family group interact more with the family members than with others in the general community.
Social animals form communities for various reasons, one of which is to gain greater protection against predators.
Each member of a family has a role to play, and they are diligent with their roles. Examples of social animals are man, bees, zebras, etc.
How Social Are Zebras?
Zebras are highly social animals.
They are known to continually stick to their small family group even when mixing with the rest of the herd.
A family bond remains strong even after the dominant male leaves the group or is dead.
Why Are Zebras Important?
Zebras are important because they play a crucial role in the ecosystem.
They help to maintain the quality of vegetation by eating out old plants. As they migrate, they feed on old vegetation, thereby giving room for new ones to grow out.
Zebras are also important because they are sources of pleasure to people.
People visit the zoo during their leisure periods to see wild animals, of which the zebra is among.
Tourists travel to African countries so they can experience the zebra’s annual migration!
This helps to expand the tourism industry and at the same time, enrich the zoo keeper’s pockets!
Also check out this article I wrote on can zebras eat fruits
How Do Zebras Communicate?
Zebras have up to six vocal sounds for communication.
They also communicate using facial expressions (such as opening their eyes, opening their teeth and the positioning of their ears) and body movements.
Each sound and movement connotes a specific meaning. Zebras snort when they are excited, and they make a high-pitched call when they want to inform the herd about the presence of a predator.
When they feel threatened, they press their ears against their heads.
When they want to greet each other, they push up both their ears and faces. Sometimes during greetings, they bring their heads close to each other.
Social animals form communities so they can enjoy a number of benefits, one of which is protection.
Zebras are easy targets for lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas; hence living in herds is necessary for their survival.
Zebras also carry every member of the group along, except in a situation where there is competition for food.
With their unique white and black stripes, zebras are not only beautiful animals; they are also important in the ecosystem as they help maintain the quality of vegetation, as well as the quality of life.