The Quagga is a recently extinct animal that looked like a cross between a wild horse and a zebra. What made this strange looking mammal so similar to Zebras is the
that each Quagga had a striped pattern totally unique from any other member of its species. They roamed the open plains of South Africa where they were usually found
in large groups (harems). It is believed that the Quagga went extinct in 1883 when the last one died in captivity, at the Amsterdam Zoo. Scientists who have studied
believe the reason why it died out was because of excessive hunting by humans.
Whether you are a teacher, kid, or you simply have an interest in the Quagga, the
following interesting information touches on the Quagga's habitat, behavior, feeding habits, and reproduction.
Quagga General Facts
- Although once thought to be a separate and distinct species, recently examined DNA evidence suggests that the Quagga was a sub-species of the plains Zebra. Both
animals DNA are exactly the same.
- The Quagga was named for the sound of the plains Zebra's warning call which sounded like "kwa-ha-ha".
- Newborn foals had the ability to stand within minutes of being born and were able to run, although not gracefully, within an hour.
- The Quagga had dark brown colored stripes on the upper portion of their bodies and melded into more of a solid brown at their shoulders. Their legs were usually
and pale with no stripes at all.
- With the art of photography being relatively new at the time Quagga's were still alive, there are only five known photographs of this animal. All were of the same
Quagga and were taken at a London zoo in 1870.
- The Quagga was known to be a very social animal often surrounded by other species of animals like the ostrich and wildebeest, in particular. Their association with
these animals was mutually beneficial. Together the ostrich's great eyesight, the wildebeest's strong sense of smell and the quagga's sharp hearing gave these animals
the advantage of knowing when predators were near.
- Until the later part of the 19th century the Quagga lived exclusively in South Africa among the grassy plains and wet pastures.
- The main staple of the Quagga's diet was grass, but they also fed on herbs, fruit, and leaves when available. Because they needed daily water, they never ventured
far from a water source.
- The Quagga was hunted for both its colorful skin and for its meat. Both hunters and European settlers used the skin for grain bags or sacks and the meat, which was
sometimes dried, was eaten.
- The typical life span of the Quagga was about 40 years in the wild.
Quagga Reproductive Facts
- Unlike many other animals, the Quagga had no definitive mating season but December and January were peak months for foals to be born.
- The gestation period of a mother Quagga was 12 months.
- While the female gave birth, the male Quagga would protect the female and the newborn foal by standing guard while the female lay down in preparation for
- Quaggas were polygynous, meaning that there was just one mature, dominant male who would mate with several females.
- Foals were nursed by their mothers until 11 months of age but were able to eat grass at just one week old.