Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

zebra any of several African mammals of the horse family, Equidae, which bear on their white hides the distinctive black stripes which have given the word ‘zebra’ wide currency in the English language.

The so-called Grévy’s zebra, Equus grevyi, is the largest of these; adapted to living in a semi-desert or desert environment, it is found from N. Kenya to Ethiopia and Somalia. However, the common zebra of southern and eastern Africa, E. burchelli, is, as one would expect, the most common. Standing 1.25 m (50") high at the shoulder, it is often seen with other animals on the plains. An adaptable species (with several subspecies, but not as many as there were, for some have been exterminated), it may also be found in wooded terrain. An African name for it is bontkwagga.