Why have zebras never been utilized as cavalry animals?

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Also – do they have white base with black stripes or black core with white hair? How did this help them survive in the wild?

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20 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They are nearly impossible to domesticate for riding.

They are black with white stripes.

Their patern breaks up their shape making it harder to track their movements. Ships used to use stripes like them to disguise the direction they were heading.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Zebras are extremely aggressive. Attempts to domesticate them never work, it just makes them more upset. Horses on the other hand are very docile. There’s just no reason to even try to use Zebras when horses are abundant

Anonymous 0 Comments

1. Zebras are not domesticated. They are particularly skittish, violent, and will not tolerate cohabitating with humans.
2. They don’t have a base of either color. That implies that they have one color “underneath” with the other color layered on top. They are white in parts, and they are black in parts. All the way through to their skin. Shave a zebra and it will still have stripes.
3. It’s an excellent example of [Dazzle Camouflage](https://clasebcn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/tip-of-the-week-culture-dazzle-camouflage-clase-bcn-01-1.jpg). The stripes make it difficult to tell where the ‘edges’ of the animal’s body begin and end. In a herd this makes it difficult to single out an individual; they all blur together. Singling out individuals is the primary MO of a predator, as a herd can trample you to death but an individual can be picked off. It would be very difficult for a predator [to single out a zebra from this image](https://www.africa-wildlife-detective.com/images/zebra-800i.jpg)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Zebras are not horses with stripes, they are a very different animal, and they lack the temperament and social nature that made horses domesticatable. So, zebra calvary is not a thing.

As for the stripes, they help break up their outline when moving as a group, so singling out any one individual is much more difficult, making predation less likely.

And finally: last I checked their skin is more black, so they’re black based I would say.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Hate to burst everyone’s bubble but the pattern breaking theory was debunked years ago. For reasons that scientists still have trouble understanding, the stripes seem to make them less attractive to biting insects. How did they figure this out? They painted zebra stripes onto some cattle and found that they were bitten half as many times as those that didn’t have stripes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a live cam in Namibia that I watch sometimes where zebra show up pretty regularly. It doesn’t take long to realize that they are absolutely bonkers insane. Nature’s drama queens. They run around kicking & biting each other, they’re super rowdy. Most of the other animals, even the very territorial ones, give them plenty of space. I don’t think domesticating them is really on the table.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Horses grew up with wolves and bears, which you can run away from if they get kinda close.

While horses are big and strong, they’re just big softies that are really good at running away from things if they get scared or upset.

That means if you can keep it calm, it will be a big softy, and if you fall off one or spook it, it will try to run away.

Since horses like to run away from things, we can put them on a very long leash or in a large, round playpen, and just let them run around while we are nearby until they say “okay, people aren’t that bad.”

Zebras on the other hand grew up with lions and crocodiles and other fast-attack ambush hunters. If a Zebra is a big softie, it gets eaten.

That makes Zebras very, VERY mean. If you scare a Zebra, it will turn around and bite you and kick you until you want to run away instead of it.

So if we put a Zebra on a long leash and try to make it run in circles, it will just start trying to step on you.

Same thing happens if you try to ride one and you fall off.

So it’s just really really difficult to become friends with a Zebra.

(Non Eli5: the way we break horses is essentially through simulated persistence hunting, if we try this with Zebras, they’ll just turn around and kill us).

Anonymous 0 Comments

Lord Walter Rothshild had some more or less tamed/domesticsted zebra that he used to pull his carriage. Noone else seems to have been bonkers enough to try.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Horses are the result of thousands of years of domestication, ie protected by humans.

Zebras still live in a land where lions and other things with sharp teeth will fuck them up, so they’re not particularly feeling safe and cooperative right now.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you eat zebra what’s it taste like? Why wasn’t it ever a food source?