People have tamed horses for about 5-6 thousand yearsback. The first to do this were the inhabitants of present-day Kazakhstan. It was they who began to eat horse meat and laid the foundations for horse riding. At the moment, there are 7 types of horses on our planet, and several of them are zebras. Didn't you find it strange that people usually only use ordinary horses to ride? But zebras, it would seem, practically do not differ from them, with the exception of black and white stripes on the body. In fact, people have tried many times to tame zebras and use them as a means of transportation. But these animals have several important characteristics that do not allow them to make friends with people.
Who are zebras?
Zebras are close relatives of horses,but very different from them in character. They are much more aggressive and this behavior is vital for them. They live exclusively in hot Africa, in open areas. Dangerous predators like lions and cheetahs live next to them, which are their main enemies. So zebras are constantly on the alert and have developed a very nervous character over the years. They are not only difficult to accustom, they even seem to be approached. After all, in any incomprehensible situation, they begin to run away. But, despite this, attempts to domesticate them have been made many times.
In addition to this, for an animal to be domesticated, it must meet four requirements:
- be able to reproduce in closed conditions;
- eat different foods, even the remnants of human breakfasts, lunches and dinners;
- be able to maintain hierarchy within the group;
- have a little aggressive character.
Zebras don't match any of theseparameters, even breeding in captivity can be difficult for them. They live in groups, but there is no hierarchy in them - such a way of life simply allows you to scare away and confuse predators. And the ability of animals to observe the hierarchy is very important, because this way a person has a chance to become a leader. And I have already mentioned the aggressive nature.
See also: Why did scientists put a zebra costume on an ordinary horse?
Differences between zebras and horses
Apart from all this, zebras are not suitable forriding due to the structure of your body. The height of ordinary horses is about 180 centimeters, they are almost the same as adults. But the growth of zebras is very small and reaches a maximum of 150 centimeters. It would obviously be very uncomfortable to ride such animals across the fields. Plus, zebras are not physically as strong as horses. So only very light people could ride them.
But what happens if you harness the zebras to the carriage? Let's say a man somehow managed to appease these animals. And working together, they can easily pull heavy loads with them. Once the British banker Lord Walter Rothschild managed to do it. To impress people, one day he taught zebras to pull a carriage and rode it near Buckingham Palace. However, the fact that he succeeded does not mean that zebras are suitable for such a job. He was a zoologist and once even rode an elephant turtle.
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For many people it is a big mystery,why zebras are striped. In fact, even scientists cannot give an exact explanation for this phenomenon. At the moment, there are several assumptions and one of them says that the stripes on the body of zebras are needed for proper heat transfer. There is also scientific evidence that the unusual coloration scares off flies and other insects from their bodies. You can learn more about why zebras are striped in this article. Enjoy reading!