Here’s Why Zebras Have Never Been Domesticated

Zebras are known for their unique striped coats and gorgeous appearance. They also look a lot like horses and come from the same family. If you love zebras, you may wonder: can I adopt one?

Sure they may look cute and cuddly, but that is far from the truth. In fact, zebras are on top of the list of animals that are hard to domesticate. Their unpredictable behavior makes them as dangerous as any other wild animal.

So before you decide to buy a pet zebra, read this informative article. We’ve mentioned some interesting facts about zebras and why they haven’t been domesticated.

Reason Why Zebras Weren’t Domesticated 

A common reason why people think they can tame zebras is because of their horse-like appearance. However, horses were domesticated centuries ago and have been bred to be kept as pets. Zebras, on the other hand, are wild animals that can’t be kept as pets.

These animals aren’t exactly human-friendly, which has been known since the early days. In fact, a famous polymath named this as an example of an untameable species. There have been a few attempts in the past to tame zebras, but they failed.

However, this does not mean they cannot be tamed. There is a possibility that you can train a single zebra. But to consider them a tameable specie is a wrong idea. 

Whenever people tried to train zebras, they eventually ran away or attacked their owners. Another reason why zebras haven’t been domesticated is that they weren’t considered as attractive as horses back then. This made horses a more interesting choice for people to domesticate.

Learn more about zebras in the wild in this amazing documentary.

Why It’s Hard To Domesticate A Zebra

If you’re still thinking about getting a pet zebra, read these reasons why they are so hard to domesticate. 

They Are Aggressive 

Zebras are not only unpredictable, but they are also very aggressive. If you were to try and pet a zebra, you’d be met with a nasty surprise. They are known to be biters, and once they bite, they don’t let go!

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This species has really strong teeth as well. Their teeth are long and covered in a thick layer of enamel. So being bitten by a zebra would cause some significant damage.

Zebras also kick anyone they get intimidated by. A zebra kick is strong enough to break bones and even kill a lion! Needless to say, zebras are aggressive, wild animals and should be treated as such.

They Can’t Be Ridden

You may want a zebra because you can ride it like a horse. Despite what the movie “racing stripes” shows you, you cannot ride a zebra. Horses are meant to be ridden because of their muscular build and sloped backs.

On the other hand, zebras have flat backs that cannot be saddled. They also have a lighter and weaker body structure compared to horses. This means that if you were to ride a zebra, you would probably cause it pain.

Also, a zebra would likely throw you off its back and injure you.

Fight or Flight Response

Zebras have a built-in fight-or-flight response since they are prey animals. That is another possibility why they may have never been domesticated. The fact that they are prey makes them less attractive to the ones who were trying to domesticate them.

Their fight or flight response causes them to run the moment they sense danger. So even if you try to approach a zebra, it will most likely run away. It will try to escape if you keep it in an enclosure.

In the wild, zebras always stay alert to avoid becoming dinner for lions.

Watch the zebra kick in the lioness jaw to defend his friend!

Zebras Are Endangered 

The main reason why zebras shouldn’t be domesticated or kept as pets is that they are endangered. This species should be allowed to thrive in its natural habitat. Their species is near threatened and could disappear in a couple of years if proper care is not taken.

See also  Zebra Animal Pictures

One of the most endangered species of zebras is the grèvys zebra. They are becoming endangered mainly because of a loss of habitat. Also because they are constantly hunted by humans. This is a sad reality, and there is a possibility that they may become extinct soon.

Some measures are being taken to keep them from becoming extinct. Areas in Kenya have strong laws that keep these animals protected. 

So instead of buying a pet zebra, it’s best to donate to wildlife conservation platforms.

Here’s Why Horses Are A Better Option

So you wanted to buy a zebra, but you just read why it’s not a good idea. Now what?

A horse is a better option for you for plenty of reasons. One of these reasons is that they are great companions and are quite loyal to their owners. Most of them love being petted and are also quite affectionate.

You can ride horses since that’s what they are mainly bred for. Horses can also help you feel less stressed because of their calming aura. These amazing animals have been used as therapy animals for a long time.

Horse riding is a great way to spend time in nature and stay active. Above all, these majestic animals make great pets, though grooming their long mane can be tedious. 


Zebras are best when they are left in their natural habitat. In the wild, they are known to graze on grass all day and may even eat bark. They also drink a lot of water to survive, sometimes up to a gallon at a time.

This species is designed to live in the wild and shouldn’t be taken out of the situation. Zebras stay with their herds, protecting each other from danger. Some zebras stay awake to keep guard while others sleep.

We hope this article helped you learn more about zebras.

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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.