Judging Zebra

Oliver.Wettstein

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I have to shoot some zebra on our land in SA, because we have to many stallions that are fighting with each other, and reproducing so much that the carrying capacity of the land has been reeched. Therefore I want to shoot out some stallions.

I am having a hard time determining sex in the bush and high grass. Can anyone help me out with some tips in determining the sex of the zebra.


Thanks,

Oli

 
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TOM

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I will be over there in a few weeks and would be more than happy to help you take out a few animals....ha.
 

Andries

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Oliver,
The quickest way to determine between the sexes are if you look at the neck. The neck of a stallion is much more muscular and thicker than those of the mares. If you got time and the animal is facing away from you, you can look at the black part between their hind legs. The black part or stripe is much broader on a mare than on a stallion. Zebra are nearly always swinging their tails so, if you got time you will clearly see the difference.
Hope this help.
 

Skyline

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Oliver this is the kind of opportunity that I find hard to resist...............one shouldn't leave themselves so wide open.;):D

It can be difficult indeed to pick the stallions out when you can't see all of the anatomy. As a many decade horse owner and breeder however I do not find it that difficult really........physical stature, bearing and ATTITUDE are there even if you can't see the lower extremities.

I'm afraid though it is something that really only comes with time and viewing the animals on a regular basis. This is the same problem with bears in that few can tell a boar from a sow.......with time and many hours of observation though you learn to pick out the physical differences and mannerisms.

It may well be that the PH's have some sort of markers they look for besides the obvious and if so I am sure they will jump in and enlighten us.
 

Highland

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Shoot 'em off the top of the mare.:D

Seriously, if you watch them for a bit, their antics will indicate who's who. Or what.
 

Frederik

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Oliver,

Knowing what the terrain looks like in your area and zebra not being one of the dumbest animals around you are making yourself a very difficult task. Like said before on the neck size and physical appearence it will be the best to judge the animal on. Another good thing to go by is when they trot off or run off the stallion will usually follow at the back stopping and looking over his shoulder at what his chasing them.

Not an easy task but if you need help just shout. :D
 

Gerhard

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It interesting when PH's get together and start talking about animals that most of them agree that Zebra is one of the toughest animals to hunt with a client.

Like Frederik said "They are not the dumbest animals around"

and once you start culling they will give you a hard time.

Good luck and shout if you need help. ;-)
 

madabula

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just curious

Oli;

I'm just curious.... If you have an overpopulation problem then why are you shooting stallions? I.m under the impression that one Stallion and 100 mares will make the herd 201 zebra in a season where as 100 stallions and one mare will only make 102 zebra in the same time frame.

Best Regards
 

RayAtkinson

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I get a kick out of all the experts that think they can tell a stallion from an old lead mare in horses or Zebras...Being ranch raised and still owning a small place and being an avid roper and with 50 years of hunting and 40 years of hunting Africa yearly once or twice and even more I can guarentee that even the best of PHs and indigenous trackers and game scouts are only correct about 50% of the time, and I have won a ton of money on this subject...The rest is pure BS that gets in print from time to time and is accepted as correct because on the face it seems logical, but it just doesn't work out that way...The only way to be 100% sure is if the animal is in low grass and you can see is pecker, end of story...If you watch him long enough then a stallion will exhibit male actions and that will work, but in the bush you won't have much luck with this as a rule. some of those big old mares will fool you.

This is why so many females are shot every year by mistake, and the laws are not enforced, even the game dept. realizes this.
 

NUys

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I am not gonna call myself an "expert" nor "clever" on this subject, after reading all the tips above, surely bearing them all in mind before making the shot, the odds of shooting a female will be smaller. Yes it is difficult to tell the difference between stallions and mares but the job must be done. While your land is over populated a female now and then wont be a bad thing. There is no time picking out short grass looking for a pecker when you cull.

I can assure you that all the tips above is working from time to time.
 

buckandbronco

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I have to agree with what someone else said, if overpopulation is the problem, shooting stallions isn't going to help much. You may reduce the herd by the 5 stallions you shoot, but whatever stallions you have are still going to breed with the hundred mares you have, and your overpopulation is going to be doubled anyway. Shooting stallions is going have a very minimal effect on population. I would say, if overpopulation is the problem, I wouldn't worry about whether they are stallions or mares, just shoot them.
 

AHS

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Although Zebra species are not scored for either the Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals nor for the Rowland Ward Records of Big Game Book, they are still regularly hunted by trophy hunters. The reason the Zebra is hunted is for their skin as a trophy or as bait for hunting Leopard and/or Lion.

The name "zebra" comes from an old Portuguese word which means "wild ass". Zebras are African equids best known for their distinctive white and black stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns unique to each individual like a fingerprint, no two are alike. Zebras are actually black or dark animals with white stripes. Although seemingly improbable the stripes of a Zebra act as a camouflage mechanism. Anyone who has observed Zebra in their Natural habitat can attest to the excellent camouflage that their stripes provide.

Being able to accurately assess Zebra gender is particularly difficult therefore listening to the advice of your Professional Hunter is imperative. Ultimately it requires having seen an awful lot of Zebra to become adept at judging the sex of this particular species. Even PHs will often rely heavily on the instincts of their native trackers to determine which Zebra are stallions. So difficult is it to assess gender that most countries hunting permits do not even distinguish between male and female as they do for most species.

In most countries both stallions and mares can be hunted however ideally taking an old male who is past his prime is always preferable. Although since the skin is the trophy from this animal, some hunters prefer to take younger bachelor males as their skins are less scared from years of fighting.

Since both male and female Zebras are of similar size and weight this cannot be used as a method to differentiate between the sexes. The girth of the neck can sometimes be used as a characteristic to look at to distinguish between a stallion and a mare, however I personally do not feel that this way to identify between them can be used often enough to be considered as a reliable method of judgment.

A significant factor to look at to differentiate between a male and a female is behavior. By observing behavior the hierarchy can sometimes become noticeable and reveal the dominant stallion. This is often a skill that takes years of observation to develop however here are a few things that you probably will be able to discern.

As with many species the dominant male will put himself between danger and the rest of his group. On the run he will be the last of his group. Going to water he will be leading the way. While grazing he will stand apart from the rest of his group.


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra) with a foal clearly distinguishing her as a mare since a foal never strays far from it's mother.


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra) displaying fighting behavior only observed between stallions


Using Zebra genitalia to differentiate between sexes

As with horses, Zebra genitalia of both sexes is extremely difficult to see.


Even at close range, from the back it is very unlikely that you will be able to see the testicles of a Zebra stallion. More often if you see something back there it is the teats from a lactating mare




As you can see in the two photos above a stallion's genitals are tucked up high between the hind legs of the male Zebra

If the Zebra is facing away from you, look at the black part between their hind legs coming down from their tail. The black part in the crease of their rump is much broader and longer on a mare than on a stallion. This dark part is where the anus and the vulva of the mare are located. Zebra are nearly always swinging their tails so you will probably need to observe them for some time to see this distinguishing characteristic.




The two pictures above clearly show the anus and the vulva of a Zebra mare and how the size of this dark area differs from the stallions below




As you can see from the two pictures above the dark area in the crease is narrower and less noticeable on a stallion than on a mare


In this picture you can tell that these two Zebras are stallion from the minimal dark area in the crease even though their testicles are not visible


On rare occasion you may observe a Zebra displaying an un-retracted penis, obviously a stallion


Characteristics and differences between Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra) and Hartmann's Mountain Zebra

Like most members of the horse family, Zebras are highly sociable animals. Their social structure, however, depends on the species. Mountain Zebras and Plains Zebras live in groups, known as "harems", consisting of one stallion with up to six mares and their foals. Bachelor males either live alone or with groups of other bachelors until they are old enough to challenge a breeding stallion.

Although these two species of Zebra can have overlapping ranges, they do not interbreed and there are clear distinctive physical characteristics that sets them apart.

The Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Typical Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra) Harem


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)

The Plains Zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchelli), also known as the Common Zebra or the Burchell's Zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread Zebra in Africa. It once ranged from the south of Ethiopia right through east Africa as far south as Angola and eastern South Africa.

Here are some of the distinctive characteristics of the Burchell's Zebra:
• Prominent stripes on body however stripes on the legs become less prominent further down the leg and can sometime disappear
• Stripes continue to reach around to the underbelly
• Sometimes shadow stripes are present (lighter stripes between prominent dark stripes)
• Hindquarter stripes lead straight into the tail


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra) showing shadow stripes, fading leg stripes and hindquarter stripes leading straight into the tail

The Hartmann's Mountain Zebra


Hartmann's Mountain Zebra (Equus Zebra Hartmannae)

Hartmann's Mountain Zebra (Equus Zebra Hartmannae) is a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra found in far south-western Angola and western Namibia. They are agile climbers and are able to live in arid conditions and steep mountainous country.

Here are some of the distinctive characteristics of the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra:
• Prominent stripes on body and legs all the way down to the hooves
• No stripes on their under belly
• No shadow stripes
• Face has distinctive beige or brown colored areas
• Hindquarter stripes tapering in a "Z" pattern leading straight down to the tail


Hartmann's Zebra (Mountain Zebra) showing prominent body stripes with no shadow stripes, face with distinctive brown coloration and the hindquarter stripes tapering in a "Z" pattern leading straight down to the tail


Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra)

Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) is a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra found in the Western and Eastern Cape of South Africa. It has been argued that it should be considered a separate species than the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra however this argument is not supported by genetic evidence.

Below are several trophy pictures of Burchell's and Hartmann's Zebras. Using the points from above see how good you are at differentiating between these two species before looking at the captions. In the pictures you can also see the uniqueness of each individual Zebra, how their hides vary in color and their strips in thickness and darkness.


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Hartmann's Zebra (Mountain Zebra)


Hartmann's Zebra (Mountain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)


Burchell's Zebra (Plain Zebra)
 
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Grevy's Zebra


Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi)

Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi), sometimes known as the Imperial Zebra, is the largest species of Zebra. It is endangered and no longer legal to hunt. They are found in the wild in Kenya and Ethiopia. Compared to other Zebras, it is tall, has large ears, and its stripes are narrower. The species is named after Jules Grevy, a president of France, who, in the 1880s, was given one by the government of Abyssinia. In certain regions of Kenya, the plains Zebras and Grevy's Zebras coexist. Grevy's Zebra was the first Zebra to be discovered by the Europeans and was used by the ancient Romans in circuses.
 
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enysse

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I feel smarter after visiting this website. Which keeps me coming back for more. I love the zebra. And this is the best guide I have ever seen!!! Thanks for the post.
 

AfricaHunting.com

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enysse, thanks that is the best compliment that I could hear about the site. You know I learn so many things from you guys also on a regular basis... I may have some areas where I can share my experience but it is the collective expertise and knowledge of all of the contributing members that makes AH such a great resource. I just wish that more of the people who come to the site on a regular basis would join and participate. :D
 

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Jerome

Great posts...very informative...

lone Zebras i have been told are usually old Male's...usually run out of the herd...and are the old battle scared ones...
 

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the malea are black with white stripes and the females are white with black stripes. haha
 

Ole Bally

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Oli, just don't shoot the herd stallions! find groups of males and have at it! Killing the herd stallion causes major problems in the generational cycles...the new stallion will kill the young foals in the herd!
 

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