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Zebra Digestive System


Elise Michels

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of Zebra Digestive System

Zebra Digestive System Elise Michels Introduction What do they eat? How do they obtain food? How do they digest? Conclusion How do they eat? Bibliography All three types of zebras (plains zebra, Grevy's zebra, and mountain zebra) generally have the same diet. Zebras are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. Their diet consists almost entirely of grass, but they also eat shrubs, herbs, twigs, leaves and bark. Out of the four types of food molecules (sugar, starch, protein, and fat), zebras need sugar, starch, and protein. They are physically unable to digest animal fat. Zebras are not predators; they do not have to hunt for their food. Instead, they graze for hours each day. They are nomadic, which means that they dont stay in one place; they move around to find food. Zebras use their front teeth to cut the grass, then use their back teeth to crush and grind it. Spending so much time chewing every day wears the zebra's teeth down, so their teeth keep growing all their lives. They have an acute sense of taste. Zebras eat in herds. Different herds will mix and graze together, sometimes even with other species such as wildebeests. Unlike some other herbivores, zebras are not ruminants. Instead, they digest their food in the secum, a sac at the far end of the small intestine. Although cecal digestion is less efficient for the digestion of grasses than ruminant digestion, zebras compensate by eating more forage than ruminants. This may include grass stems or leaves too high in fiber or too low in protein for ruminants to digest effectively. The food travels through the cecum quickly, and forage passes through a zebra faster than a ruminant. Therefore, even though zebras are less efficient in extracting protein from their food than ruminants, they can exctract more protein from low- quality forage because of their faster rate of digestion. In conclusion, the most important things about a zebra's diet and digestive system are that it is an herbivore, meaning it only eats plants. It grazes to obtain its food and chews the food with its teeth. It is not a ruminant; its food is digested in the cecum. Websites:
King, Tamiya. "The Diet of Herbivores." eHow. VeriSign, 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ehow.com/about_6365202_diet-herbivores.html>.
“Zebra." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/656157/zebra>.
"Zebra." Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra#Food_and_foraging>.

MacDonald, D. Zebra digestive system. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, 2001. Diagram This diagram shows where the food travels in a zebra's body. The bot the caecum, or cecum, and colon are fermentation sites, which meansthat is where tough plants are broken down with a particular bacteria and release nutrients. The arrows show where these nutrients are absorbed. In this presentation, I will inform you about a zebra's diet and how it obtains as well as eats its food. I will also include its digestive system and how food travels through its body. How do they convert food into energy? Mitochondria in the zebra's cells convert food into useable energy. When food is digested and oxygen is taken in, the smallest molecules and nutrients cross into the bloodstream. These molecules and nutrients include things such as glucose (a sugar molecule). When the mitochondria convert glucose into adenosine triphosphate, ATP (which temporarily stores energy), they use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and water. The ATP is like a battery, and when it is charged, it releases the energy into the body.
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