Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm Posts: 4047 Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
I'd guess the obvious reply, a close escape from a predator, that got the zebra's tail but nothing else.
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am Posts: 14389 Location: Pretoria, RSA
Yes, the most common reason for Zebra without tails is indeed fighting between males!
There are other reasons also, such as close escapes with predators and other injuries. You Will thus also see other animals such as kudu and even giraffe without tails or even shortened tails.
It is however more common to see male zebra without tails. The reason for this lies in their social structure. A dominant male owns a harem of females and will defend it aggressively. For a new male to be able to breed he has to defeat the dominant male. This causes serious fighting which often leads to severe injury.
When zebra fight they will not only kick and push, they will also bite. They have power full teeth and jaws, and the males even have elongated canines! A bite by a zebra is quite able to damage a tail and even to bite it off!
Zebras almost always look as if they are in good condition. They look fat, when other animals might look quite thin at the end of the dry season. Why is this?
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