Quaggas: What You Should Know

The quagga was a special zebra. The last known quagga died in a zoo in Amsterdam. That was in 1883. Since then, the quaggas have been considered extinct.

Quaggas lived in the southern part of Africa. Supposedly her name came from her whinny, which sounded like kwa-ha-ha. Europeans believed that the quagga was a separate animal species. Today we know that it was a subspecies of the plains zebra. That was found out through the genome of quagga residues, through the DNA.

Today there are still a few photos of quaggas that lived in zoos. Around the world, 23 corpses are still known, i.e. the remains of dead quaggas. Thanks to these remains, it was possible to examine the genetic makeup of these animals and therefore learn a little more about them.

What did these animals look like?

The quaggas looked like a cross between a domestic horse and a zebra. They only had stripes from head to shoulder. The stripes were brown and white. The belly and legs were white and not stripped. The color of the quagga’s back was a reddish brown.

A quagga probably grew to about 120 to 130 centimeters. This is more reminiscent of a pony than a horse. It was eight feet long. In winter, the quagga grew a thicker mane, which later fell out again.

Why did the quaggas become extinct?

The Europeans living in southern Africa hunted the quaggas for meat. After all, some rich people shot quaggas for fun. Already around 1850 only very few of these animals were still alive. That was because there had never been many quaggas anyway. In addition, they lived widely in small groups.

In Africa, it is often too hot for domestic horses. Zebras, on the other hand, are so wild that humans cannot tame them. The quagga might still have been the most peaceful of the zebra species, so it could have been turned into a workhorse. However, some scientists believe that the quagga was too wild to be tamed.

Some people today wish there were quaggas again. They want to breed them from certain zebra species. This has already been achieved to some extent. They think that since humans have eradicated the quagga, it is good that humans start making new quaggas again. Other people don’t think that makes sense: these new animals might look something like quaggas. However, they are not “real” quaggas because they have a different genetic makeup.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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