Dade City’s Wild Things presents Hank the Zebra

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Hi!  My name is Hank and I came to Dade City’s Wild Things at the age of 2 weeks. I was picked up in a van and I got to ride with one of my owners. He talked to me and sang songs and I was so excited to get to know him. I stood by him and my owner allowed me to rest my head on his shoulders at times I needed comfort. About half way thru the drive back to Florida he discussed with me name options and he settled on the name HANK. I have grown to love the name and run up everytime some one calls me HANK. He was so much fun the first time he gave me my bottle and it tasted sooo good. He made me a soft bed out of shaving and hay but I preferred to stand by my new friend.
Once I arrived at Dade City’s Wild Things I was happy to see all green. I met my other owners who seemed happy to see me but I was alittle scared to leave my van as I enjoyed my ride. But once I got out they walked me to my new large GREEN pasture and I ran and ran kicking up my heels and my new owners laughed and clapped me on. I have sense grown more and more and I love it here. I especially love when the summer camp kids get to come visit me and we have races. I occasionally let them win, but mostly I win the race and kick up my heels in celebration while the kids clap and laugh. Today I had more visitors who chose me as their encounter animal and I really like this as I get to meet new friends and get a scratch on the nose and then they give me treats – my favorite is the sweet potator fries . .raw of course.
So if you come to the Zoo – Please pick me as I am always ready for more treats.

ZEBRA FACTS:
Several species of African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and donkeys, zebras have never been truly domesticated. The unique stripes of zebras make them one of the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills. However, various anthropogenic factors have had a severe impact on zebra populations, in particular hunting for skins and habitat destruction.
It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes, since some zebras have white underbellies. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal’s background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions. 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 black and white stripes.

A wide variety of hypotheses have been proposed to account for the evolution of the striking stripes of zebras. The more traditional of these (1 and 2, below) relate to camouflage.

1. The vertical striping may help the zebra hide in grass by disrupting its outline. In addition, even at moderate distances, the striking striping merges to an apparent grey.

2. The stripes may help to confuse predators by motion dazzle—a group of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large mass of flickering stripes, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out a target.

3. The stripes may serve as visual cues and identification. Although the striping pattern is unique to each individual, it is not known whether zebras can recognize one another by their stripes. Zebra in Ngorongoro: its pattern may reduce its attractiveness to large biting flies.

4. Experiments by different researchers indicate that the stripes are effective in attracting fewer flies, including blood-sucking tsetse flies and tabanid horseflies.

Like horses, zebras walk, trot, canter and gallop. They are generally slower than horses, but their great stamina helps them outpace predators. When chased, a zebra will zig-zag from side to side, making it more difficult for the predator. When cornered, the zebra will rear up and kick or bite its attacker.
Zebras have excellent eyesight. It is believed that they can see in color. Like most ungulates, the zebra has its eyes on the sides of its head, giving it a wide field of view. Zebras also have night vision, although not as advanced as that of most of their predators. Zebras have excellent hearing, and tend to have larger, rounder ears than horses. Like horses and other ungulates, zebras can turn their ears in almost any direction. In addition to eyesight and hearing, zebras have an acute sense of smell and taste.

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