Young males form bachelor herds from the age of two years
and leave the herd, returning when they are old enough to
handle a herd of their own. The quest for leadership is
often a fierce one in which either the challenger or challenged
is severly injured. Cape mountain zebras are found in herds
of up to 12 animals, but usually around five or six, consisting
of a dominant stallion with mares and foals. Single foals,
born mostly in December, nibble at pellets of their mothers'
faeces. These contain intestinal micro-organisms which help
them digest the grasses that form their staple diet.
They differ from Burchell's (plains) zebra in that the
black stripes on their bodies are narrower, and they do
not have 'shadow stripes'; also their stripes do not reach
under their bellies: they have white underparts. On cold
winter mornings they will move, one by one, to the east-facing
slopes of their territory and stand at right angles, soaking
in the warming rays of the sun.