The Zebra is a member of the horse family, native to eastern and southern Africa. They are best known for their distinctive white and black stripes which come in different patterns unique to each individual. There are four species of zebra. The Plains zebra (Equus quagga), Grevy s zebra (Equus grevyi), Cape Mountain zebra (Equus zebra) and the Hartmann s Mountain zebra (Equus hartmannae). They can be found an a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savanna, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains and coastal hills. Zebras are white with dark almost black stripes and their bellies have a large white blotch for camouflage purposes. Some zebras have brown shadow stripes inbetween the white and black coloring. It is believed that zebras have a dark background for the following three reasons: (1) white equids would not survive well in the African plains or forests; (2) The quagga, an extinct Plains zebra subspecies, had the zebra striping pattern in the front of the animal, but had a dark rump; (3) when the region between the pigmented bands becomes too wide, secondary stripes emerge, as if suppression was weakening. The fact that some zebras have pure white bellies and legs is not very strong evidence for a white background, since many animals of different colors have white or light colored bellies and legs. The stripes are typically vertical on the head, neck, forequarters, and main body, with horizontal stripes at the rear and on the legs of the animal. The zebra crossing is named after the zebra s white and black stripes.
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