What does the ZEBRA EAT?

What does the zebra eat?

Zebras are animals that belong to the Equidae family as well as to the genus Equus. They are special mammals because they look like a kind of mixture between a horse and a donkey that would have white and black stripes on the body.

Zebras are endemic animals of Africa and depending on the species they are, they inhabit different regions and habitats of this beautiful continent. Want to learn more about this magnificent animal and want to know what the zebra eats? Well, continue reading this article from PlanèteAnimal!

Good reading !

Feeding type of zebras

Zebras are exclusively herbivorous animals and, although it will always depend on the availability of food in their environment, zebras generally feed exclusively on different types of plants and, especially, grass. They can also feed on certain parts of plants, such as leaves, branches and even bark.

Compared to ruminants, which are also herbivores, zebras have a simpler digestive system, but they are also able to subsist perfectly on only plant foods, including those with low nutritional value for others. specialized herbivorous animals.

Their teeth are adapted to this type of feeding and they have large incisors which they use to cut plants, which they then process with their premolars and end up grinding with their molars. v

What does a baby zebra eat?

Zebras are able to walk as soon as they are born and it is estimated that just 20 minutes after being born, zebra calves are already walking. They can also run an hour after birth. In this sense, it can be seen that these animals are born sufficiently developed to move, however, since they are smaller, they are the preferred target of predators.

As they are mammalian animals, zebras need to feed on mother’s milk, but, as soon as they are born, they start nibbling on plants. Therefore, baby zebras eat both milk and certain plants.

Baby zebras suckle about every hour in three periods, the first lasting one minute and the next two lasting only a few seconds. These three periods last for 3 months, after which the frequency begins to decrease. On average, zebras are weaned at around 10 months.

What does the zebra eat?  - What does a baby zebra eat?

What does the zebra eat?

Adult zebras feed on different types of plants and some have higher nutritional value than others. As we said, what a zebra eats varies depending on the type of vegetation available in the environment where it is found.

So let’s see what adult zebras eat according to their species. There are three species of zebras, let’s see what they eat:

What does Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) eat?

Grévy’s zebra feeds mainly on herbs and hard grasses of the arid or semi-arid shrubby areas where it lives. However, when the dry season arrives and grasses become scarce, it will feed on leaves to supplement its food needs. This species feeds on many plant parts that livestock do not like.

Another important aspect is that the Grévy’s zebra inhabits places where there is always water and it will therefore move as soon as the amount of water available decreases. With the exception of lactating females, which must drink every other day to produce milk properly, it has been proven that these animals can go up to five days without drinking water.

What does the plains zebra (Equus quagga) eat?

The plains zebra feeds mainly on long grasses and it has a preference for species such as Themeda triandra, Cynodon dactylon, Eragrostis superba and Cenchrus ciliaris. It is common for some populations of this species to migrate in search of resources when these become scarce.

The migratory processes allow them to search for better quality plants, but if it is hungry, it will prefer quantity to quality. Therefore, plains zebras may concentrate on high biomass high pastures.

As for grasses, like other species of zebras, it has a rather general diet and it eats a lot of them because they represent the majority of the fibers and proteins they need.

Feeding the mountain zebra (Equus zebra)

This species inhabits mountainous areas where it feeds mainly on grasses. It also feeds on certain branches of plants. In some areas, the mountain zebra prefers mainly green plants, from which it takes both the leaves and the stems. Some of the species that this type of zebra feeds on include: Themeda triandra, Cymbopogon plurinodis, Heteropogon contortus and Enneapogon scoparius.

On the other hand, it has been detected that this animal, in summer, goes to sites with mineral soils to lick them and therefore compensates for certain nutritional deficiencies with this practice.

What does the zebra eat?  - What does the zebra eat?

How much do zebras eat?

There are no reliable and accurate data on the exact amount of food that zebras eat. However, it is estimated that these equines can spend up to 80% of their time feeding. This is related to the fact that their diet may be based on the consumption of plants with low nutritional value, which forces them to increase their consumption considerably to meet their nutritional needs.

If you want to read more articles like What does the zebra eat?we recommend that you consult the Balanced Diets section.


  • Animal Diversity Web (2020). Available at:
  • IUCN. (2022). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2022-1. Available at:

What does the ZEBRA EAT?

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