Are Zebras Dangerous?

Are Zebras dangerous? Beautiful as they are, one must wonder, why not many people keep them as pets. Why zebras were not domesticated, just like their cousins, horses, and donkeys. Do Zebras attack human beings? Can Zebras kill humans? All these questions have been asked by Zebra lovers on many online forums. It is time to pay attention to these concerns and serve people some truth.

Zebras are handsome-looking animals, anybody would fall in one with them at first glance, black and white striped coats are to be blamed.

Many people want to know about their temperament, whether they are calm or aggressive. Many stories are circulating stating humans being attacked by the Zebras. Are those stories true? You will find out later.

Belonging to the genus, Equus, these horse-like animals are native to South Africa. Zebras’ claim to fame is their bold pattern coats, every Zebra got a unique coat pattern, different from the others. Zebras got three distinctive species; Plain Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra, and Mountain Zebra. Zebras, being herbivores, usually survive on twigs, leaves, stems, and branches. 

Zebras like to live and migrate in herds and small groups, they like to do different activities together as a group. This makes one question, are Zebras friendly to Humans? 

Are Zebras Dangerous?

Yes, zebras are dangerous and do not fit the criteria of domestication. Zebras are not people-friendly, therefore, predominantly wild. Have you ever heard Zebras being employed for load-bearing, farm work, and fence jumping? probably never, their aggressive temperament is the reason.

Horses and Donkeys were domesticated because of their adaptable nature and friendly demeanor but Zebras would not settle for anything less than wild. It is not that there were no attempts made by humans to domesticate this wild animal, all the attempts made to train, race, and ride Zebras failed.

Why Zebras are Dangerous?

So, what makes Zebras so dangerous? Even though they got friendly looks but looks can be deceptive, Zebras are one of the dangerous animals but why so? Here is the Zebras’ side of the story, Survival in the wild is not a piece of cake, especially, when living among the abundance of large and strong predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas.

Native to South Africa, Zebras have developed a fight or flight response because they being herbivorous prey species. (Source)To survive in a cruel environment, Zebras have evolved to become alert, responsive animals that are ready to fight when the time comes.

Being habitats of the wild for thousands of years, Zebras have developed a thick skin and have a hard time letting anyone in the circle. Their defensive nature is one of the major reasons they could not be domesticated.


Do Zebras Bite?

Zebras have a strong front tooth which makes them savage biters. Once a predator or an individual tries to get close, they do not hesitate to bite. All those stories you have heard about Zebras biting humans are more or less true. However, they do not pick up a fight first, if you get too close, expect a powerful response.

Do Zebras Attack Human Beings?

Yes, history has witnessed many Human and Zebra violent interactions, so, do not get surprised the next time you hear a Zebra attacking a human. 

A famous incident occurred in China, 2017 when a Zebra latched onto a zookeeper’s arm and dragged him. (Source)

Can Zebras Kill Lion?

Zebras fight back when predators come for a hunt. Zebra’s kick can kill a lion or break its jaw. There have been several recorded incidents where Zebras have killed a lion just by a swift kick to the head. When the king of the jungle is not saved from Zebra’s wrath, people’s fear is quite understandable. Everything aside, they are fast runners and can cover 35 miles per hour.

Why are Zebras aggressive?

Mean or aggressive may not be the right descriptor, it is just that they can not be tamed or trained to be domestic. They do get a bit of a flare which makes them quite unapproachable. Of thousands of species, only 20 or 30 could be truly domesticated which explains their love for the wild and disdain for the domestication. 

Is it safe to ride Zebras?

It is not safe to enter the close territory, let alone ride them. Being an awful candidate for domestication, humans gave up on the idea of riding Zebras after several attempts. Also, Zebras are not built or evolved to carry weight, so, racing is not their forte. There is a great experience riding zebras in swimming.

Do Zebras Kill Baby Zebras?

Many disturbing cases have been reported where Zebra is seen killing a young foal. Zebras can get angry and try to kill young foals to eliminate any trace of predecessors. 

Are Zebras mean?

Unlike horses who are loved by kids and adults alike, Zebras do not have the temperament to be every little girl’s best friend. They would not like to wear garlands of flowers unlike their cousins rather kick you far away if you trespass the ‘no entry’ zone. It is impossible to tame them with a bunch of flowers, sweet talk, delicious treats, and tricks. 

Can Zebras be Pet?

It is one of the most searched questions related to Zebras, who would not want this striped animal as a pet. A lot of people fall for this beautiful animal only to know that it can not be domesticated or kept as a pet.

Zebra is a social animal who likes to live in herds and groups, grazing on grass. Read more on what zebras eat? Zebras are aggressive, panicky, and unpredictable and do not have a good disposition. Zebras are happier in the wild, living with their family, they do not like to trade their freedom for domestication.
Putting it all together, Zebras can be quite dangerous, and getting near them may come at a price.

There is a reason they could not be domesticated and being dangerous is quite self-explanatory. Zebras are stubborn, strong-headed animals who have the ability to be lethal. There is no hope that this animal can be domesticated, even in the future.


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Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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