What Sound Does a Zebra Make?

What sound does a zebra make? Zebras make different sounds, including whinny, neigh, snorting, barking, squeal, and Wail. Zebras have specific meanings behind their different sounds. Read more to know all details about zebra sounds.

What Sound Does a Zebra Make?

What Sound Does a Zebra Make?

What words would you use if asked to describe the noise a zebra makes? What animal would you say it is? After all, it appears to be a horse marked with stripes. Or maybe a donkey?

If you replied to either of these, you would be partially correct but not fully accurate because the sound of a zebra can be confused with that of many other animals. When persons who spend their life working with animals are asked to describe the noises that a zebra produces, they describe a great many distinct sounds, such as those of a:

  • Yapping dog

  • A hissing feline

  • Braying donkey

  • Squealing pig

  • Snorting horse

Aren’t there many distinct animal noises coming from different animals? There are a few sounds that zebras can only make. However, they frequently mimic the sounds of other animals.


Zebras can communicate with one another using not just these noises but also their body postures and facial expressions. When employees of a wildlife park were recently asked to explain the noises that a zebra produces, they had a lot of intriguing comments to share with the audience.

Do Zebra Really Bark?

For a minute, imagine yourself on a Tanzanian safari camp. In the Serengeti, for example. Let’s pretend you’re going on your first African safari and you’re nervous about everything. Late in the day, the sun has already set. A lovely wind graces your surroundings. The serenity of a starry night sky is surreal.

However, your peaceful slumber will soon be disturbed. Even though the night is overcast, you are woken by a noise. What kind of sound is that? Was it the wind that was to blame? What’s that, you say? You can practically feel the sound surrounding you as you strain your ears.

In the stillness of the night, nature is about to burst out of its cocoon. A zebra’s snort may be heard overhead. This bark is frequently enquired about on our Barking Zebra Tours. Zebras, it turns out, do bark. In reality, there are four distinct noises that they create.

Of them, the first has previously been mentioned. The bark is to blame. This tree’s bark is well marked. The bark has the potential to be quite obnoxious. It has been likened to a little dog’s high-pitched bark.

Zebras use this bark to attract other zebras’ attention. They’ll also say it when they meet as a “thank you.” The bray is the other sound. Donkey-like squeals are common among zebras. On the other hand, a zebra’s bray covers a larger spectrum of frequencies.

Keep in mind: It sounds like a giant cat snarling, then gradually rises in pitch (almost like a squealing pig). To attract a partner, zebras utilize their bray. Anger and impatience are also expressed through the usage of this sound.

About Zebra

Name Zebra
Kingdom Animalia
Class Mammalia
Order Perissodactyla
Family Equidae

In Africa, zebras are equines with black and white stripes on their coats. The Grévy’s zebra, the plains zebra, and the mountain zebra are all surviving species. Zebras, horses, and donkeys are the only surviving members of the Equidae family, which all belong to the genus Equus.

Zebra stripes occur in various shapes and sizes, making each one unique. Most data points to the stripes’ use as a fly repellent; however, there are a few opposing views. Zebras may be found in savannahs, grasslands, forests, shrublands, and hilly regions of eastern and southern Africa.

Exotic animal collectors have long desired zebras but have never been properly tamed like horses and donkeys. Quagga zebras, which lived on the plains of Africa, became extinct by the end of the 19th century. Despite this, zebras may be found in a variety of protected places.


Zebras can eat low-quality plants as they are mostly grazers. Lions are the primary predators, although they may bite and kick if they feel threatened. Zebras use a variety of vocalizations, body positions, and facial expressions to communicate with one another. Plains and mountain zebras benefit socially from grooming.

Different Zebra Sounds

German biologist and zebra behaviorist Hans Klingel discovered six different zebra noises after observing the three zebra species living in Ngorongoro Crater.

Zebra Sounds Explanation
Whinny or Nicker A satisfied nicker or whinny is a long, breathy grunt.
Neigh Sheep neigh as an early warning system for predators.
Snort When a zebra comes over potentially dangerous underbrush or long grass where predators may lurk, it may snort.
Bark Air is drawn in and then released by the sound of a bray or bark. When the zebra hears another zebra in the herd, it produces this sound.
Squeal Injured zebras emit a squealing sound, which is brief and high-pitched. Male zebras typically yell this when they get into a battle to determine who will be the herd’s alpha stallion.
Wail Zebras in distress make a lengthy and droning moan known as the “wail.”

What Does a Baby Zebra Sound Like?

The cries of young zebras are higher-pitched than those of their parents but otherwise sound quite similar. Like a human infant, a zebra foal seems to have a restricted vocabulary and only emits a tiny range of noises and sounds characteristic of zebras.

Most of their communication consists of very high-pitched barks, most of which are directed at their moms. Every zebra makes its distinctive “zebra sound” all on its own.

A mother zebra will often keep her newborn foal isolated from other zebras for the first few days of its life. This is one of the reasons for this behavior. She wants the foal to distinguish her odor, her voice (a bray), and her look, characterized by her stripes.

What Do Zebra Sounds Mean?

Let’s find out, now that we know what they sound like, what the zebras are truly saying to each other with all of this zebra noise that they are making.

Bark - The zebra bark is a way for zebras to welcome one another in a kind manner. Additionally, it is a method by which one zebra may attract the attention of another zebra. In zebra language, you may say “What’s up?” when you hear this phrase.

  • Bray - “Braying promotes territorial status,” as stated in The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. Additionally, “braying is commonly employed as an expression of displeasure or irritation.”

  • Snort - The zebra’s snort can refer to several different things. It can be a greeting to another zebra, but it may also warn of danger or hostility. Observing the zebra’s body language is the most effective method for deciphering the meaning behind its snorts.

  • Nicker - The sound of affection is reserved only for other members of the herd, making it the most unique and precious of all the vocalizations that zebras make. Nickering is a common form of communication between mothers and their young zebras.


In addition, a male zebra will let out a loud bray to assert his authority over a female as part of the wooing behavior he exhibits toward her. Because the bray of each zebra varies in pitch, some being higher than others and others being lower, other zebras in the herd can identify which individual is making which particular cry.

5 Zebra Fun Facts

The sounds that zebras produce are only one aspect of their whole personality. Learn more about these African grazers by reading the following five interesting facts:

  1. Do zebras have black stripes on a white background or white stripes on a black background? This topic has been a big debate among laypeople who like the outdoors and professional scientists.

  2. Zebras can be violent and deliver a strong kick if they feel threatened, even though they appear to be rather calm. Keep your ears peeled for a bray or a snort.

  3. Zebras are necessary for the spread of fresh grass throughout the African plains where they live. In contrast to wildebeests, their digestive processes can break down older, lower-quality grass.

  4. A “herd” is the typical collective term used to refer to a group of zebras. On the other hand, you could want to use the sexier term “dazzle.” In addition, seeing hundreds of black and white creatures might be rather overwhelming.

  5. Zebras are capable of running speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and will attain these speeds when they are attempting to escape from a predator. They will also sprint in a zigzag pattern to throw off the pursuit of the large predator or pack of wild dogs that are pursuing them.

This debate now has a definitive conclusion as a direct outcome of current studies on the embryological development of zebras. Underneath their white and striped coats, zebras have dark brown flesh.

The route is made clear for new growth of good grass when a herd of zebras eats their way through the old vegetation and grazes its way through it.


Some related questions are given below:

1 - Are zebras horses or donkeys?

Donkeys and zebras are both equines. However, donkeys are more closely related to horses. Even though zebras, donkeys, and horses are all classified as members of the same species, each animal has a unique set of features. There is a closer genetic connection between zebras and donkeys than between animals and horses.

2 - Why are zebras not used for riding?

Furthermore, zebras are too little to be ridden on! A person cannot even saddle a zebra since their backs aren’t designed for it. This is why it doesn’t matter how friendly zebras are to us; we’d still hurt them by riding on them.

3 - What makes a zebra special?

No zebras in the world have the same striped pattern as each other. You may be surprised to learn that the zebra’s design is an insect repellant and a natural sunblock! Zebras may be found throughout Africa. However, there are several distinct species.

4 - Is the zebra a horse?

The answer to this question is, “Zebra.” Horses and zebras are distantly related. However, they are not the same animal. These two animals share the Equidae family, which means they can breed. Depending on the parents, the offspring (zebroids) are given various names.

5 - What kind of meat is zebra?

In terms of juiciness, a zebra’s tenderloin is hard to beat. Sliced into Filet Mignon steaks, Zebra Tenderloin is a versatile meat. Our American Zebra Meat is made from Zebras born, grown, and slaughtered in the United States.’

6 - Why are zebras so mean?

They Use a Variety of Means to Protect Themselves. Zebras may be kicked, bit, and shoved away, which can also protect their herds and territories. Their herd or their mating rituals will be threatened by the same violent conduct from another stallion.

7 - Why do zebras bare their teeth?

Additionally, zebras use their ears to transmit their moods non-verbally. When one of their friends steals their hay, they lash out with their fangs and flatten their ears. They’re paying attention if their ears are perked and pointed forward.

8 - Is the zebra a unique species?

The plains zebra is not on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, although the mountain zebra and the Grevy’s zebra are both listed as vulnerable.

9 - Can you buy a zebra?

At Raz Livestock Sales, where zebras often sell for $4000 at an exotic animal auction, you’d be excused for not taking her seriously. In the United States, it is legal to own a zebra.

10 - Can you ride a zebra like a horse?

It is possible to ride a zebra, although it is far more difficult than riding a horse. Just a few people have ridden zebras because of their flat backs, unpredictable demeanor, and reduced strength.


The African countryside is dotted with zebras. They congregate in large herds, and even migratory super herds with thousands of animals have been seen. Often seen grazing with wildebeest and impala on the African savanna. ZEBRAs are normally quiet and concentrated on their primary activity of chewing grass, while the bush is filled with wild sounds from its numerous residents.

Noises made by zebras are essential to social interactions, though. A high-pitched noise distinguishes some of them from horses, while others are extremely similar to horses. Zebras employ a variety of noises to communicate, despite their appearance as calm and silent. There’s a good possibility you’ll spot a large group of these colorful grazers if you’re out in the wild.

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