A cross between a male zebra & a female horse – zorses are one of the most common hybrid land animals in the world! And to be fair – the more we keep learning about them, the more fascinating they get.
Here’s a list of 14 interesting facts about this zebroid that you probably didn’t know!
1. An Incredible Vision
Zorses are blessed with an incredibly powerful pair of eyes! In fact, zorse night vision has been found to be much stronger than a human’s.
Plus, zorses also have a nearly 360 degree vision but here is the Achilles heel. All zorses have two specific blind spots where the animal’s vision does not reach– one of these blind spots is situated right in front of their nose, and the other directly behind them.
2. Born With Long Legs
Another one of nature’s intriguing mysteries – zorses are born with incredibly (and disproportionately) long legs. In fact, the legs of a new-born zorse foal have already reached adult length.
This is precisely why zorses are able to stand on their own feet only one hour after being born! Pretty amazing huh?
3. Zorses are Sterile
Like all other hybrid species in the world, zorses are not able to reproduce. Because zorses are not a naturally occurring species, all of them are born sterile. That said, this doesn’t mean that a zorse does not breed or mate with its kind.
And even though the zebroid shows normal breeding behaviors (just like horses or zebras) – a zorse can still never produce an offspring through natural means.
Zorses are herbivores – which means they only eat plants. Feeding mostly on a diet of grains and grass, zorses will also eat herbs, flowers and fruits.
Just as long as this food is grabbable at ground level, zorses will each just about anything that was once a sapling! In fact, a developed sense of taste helps the animal extract the stack from its favorite plants as well as avoid poisonous ones!
5. Can Graze All Day!
Zorses tend to spend most of their time grazing in the outdoors. In fact, did you know that their digestive systems are particularly designed to sustain a continual flow of food all day.
No wonder, these plant-lover tend to graze all day if they can!
6. Have Unique Stripe Patterns
As with zebras, each individual zorse has a unique pattern of stripes. Much like human fingerprints, no two zorses can have an identical pattern of stripes!
In fact, did you know that zebra stripes can serve a number of important roles – including, acting as a unique identifier, as well as a camouflage protection against predators. To read more about the evolutionary science behind zebra stripes, read our related post here.
7. Pest Resistant
Zorses are also resistant to a number of disease-carrying pests. Especially, the tse tse fly which is highly common across Africa – and is known to transmit the Mangana disease among equid populations.
Unfortunately, horses and donkeys are unable to defend themselves against these bloodsucking parasites. Luckily for zorses, they inherit a unique resistance to the tsetse fly passed down their zebra genes!
8. Strong & Sturdy!
Born to one of the strongest land mammals (horses) – the zorse is a strong and muscular animal. The average zorse weighs anywhere between 227 to 450 kg with a height of 51 to 65 inches!
In fact, most adult zorses also tend to be slightly bigger in size than the average adult zebra!
9. Come in Many Different Colors!
When it comes to zorse fur, it seems there is never a dull moment! These striking zebroids come in a range of different colours – ranging from grey, brown and black to white, tan, and red.
This variety in fur colour makes a perfect choice for animal breeders as they are able to cater to a wider range of tastes & preferences.
10. The Perfect Trekking Animal!
Thanks to their horse genes, zorses are able to carry heavy loads of passengers & cargo! In fact, one of the major reasons the cross-breeding of zorses came to a halt in early 20th century was the rising popularity of cars a phenomenon that led to a decrease in the demand for horses & horse-like carriers. However, even today, zorses continue to be used as trekking (or riding) animals around the world – especially in mountainous areas.
11. Strong Sense of Smell & Hearing
Thanks to a mixed parentage, zorses may have inherited some of the best genetic qualities. Zorses tend to have powerful hearing abilities thanks to their large, pricked ears. They also have large nostrils – a physical feature that heightens their sense of smell.
12. Almost Never Naturally Bred
Here’s one of the quintessential differences between a zorse and a zonkey: zonkeys are known to breed and reproduce in the wild on their own. However, the overwhelming majority of zorses are artificially bred by human breeders.
This is because zorse parents are unlikely to share a natural habitat in the wild. This means zorses are mostly found in zoos or animal parks – and not out in the open wild!
13. Striped Legs
Unlike a zebra, zorses are not striped all over. In fact, zorse strips are most pronounced around the legs or the rear part of the body.
However, strips may also be found around the head and neck region! These unique patterns can help individual zorses identify each other as well as hide from predators!
14. Products of Extensive Cross Breeding
While zebra’s are only divided into three main sub-species – the domestic horse has more than 300!
Ever since the 1990’s, there has been renewed interest in artificial zorse breeding. By now, almost all known horse breeds have been used for the production of zorses.
Naturally, this has made for an incredible diversity in the physical traits & characteristics of zorses – such as fur colour, height and weight!
Well, I suppose that’s enough zorse trivia for today! Follow our space @FluffyPlanet for more interesting fun facts about other fascinating creatures like zorses and zonkeys!