What Is the Difference Between a Horse and a Zebra?

difference-between-horse-zebra Credit: Phil Roeder/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Although zebras and horses both belong to the family equus and have interbred successfully, zebras have never been truly domesticated and are more physically similar to donkeys than horses. Both can snicker and snort, but zebras bray when horses whinny. Zebras can behave unpredictably and aggressively, are not built for riding and are immune to tsetse fly bites, and they also have a distinctive striped coat.

According to Critters 360, attempts to domesticate the wild zebra have been made, most popularly during the Victorian era when their immunity to tsetse flies made them an attractive alternative among white settlers. However, their superior peripheral vision, powerful kicks and bad tempers continue to make them difficult to catch and domesticate, though zebra crossbreeds have been successfully bred and domesticated. In contrast, the domestication of the horse has been traced to 3500 B.C., and they have been used for transportation, agricultural work, warfare and food. Their evolution has been shaped by human control over their breeding. Stephen Budiansky argues that keeping horses in captivity as livestock may have helped to preserve their species in the past. Unlike zebras, horses have also attained a symbolic quality among humans, their images used to represent power and wealth.