Postcard: What’s Striped Yet White on its Belly?

Hartmann's zebra trotting in Nambia near Desert Rhino Camp

A panning shot of a Hartmann’s zebra near Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia.. notice the belly is white?

If you said the Hartmann’s mountain Zebra, you’re correct!

I saw my first Hartmann’s zebra in Namibia recently while on a game drive at Desert Rhino camp along the country’s Skeleton Coast.

I’ve seen a lot of zebras in my day but the mostly in east Africa on the Masai Mara in Kenya during the migration…yeesh, it’s zebra central at that time, or more accurately it’s plains zebra central.

The Hartmann’s zebra, however, is different. How? I’m glad you asked.

Plains zebra in the Masai Mara in Kenya

Zebras love to roll and these plains zebra all took turns in the same spot of dust. Notice the tummy has stripes.

First, the Hartmann’s mountain zebra is found in western Namibia, western and southern South Africa and Angola. They have a dewlap (I had to look that up) which is a fatty longitudinal flap of skin that’s found under the chin. Since the fellow in the first picture above was trotting at a fast clip, it’s a bit hard to see but not impossible. The Hartmann’s zebra is a smidgen taller than the plains zebra at the shoulder, anywhere from 3.8 to 4.9 feet, according to Live Science, and weigh over 800 lbs, whereas the plains zebra is 3.6 to 4.8 feet tall and are slightly leaner, topping off at around 770lbs.

Visually, the most obvious difference is the belly. The stomachs of a Hartmann’s zebra are white as opposed to striped in the plains zebra.

On the conservation front, Hartmann’s zebras are considered “vulnerable” with only 9,000 adults left in the wild.

It seems everything is at risk, doesn’t it?






12 replies »

  1. Have seen both and they really are different with the Mt Zebra’s having no shadow stripe. Great action shot on the panning and rolling. Mt Zebra NP in South Africa is helping increase the population, thankfully.


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