Zebras, like their horse relatives, are great runners—even hour-old baby zebras can run fast enough to keep up with their herd. When they gallop, zebras reach speeds of 35 miles an hour or more. Their long legs help them cover a lot of ground with each stride, and their bones are lightweight. But even though their legs are long and thin, they’re very strong. A zebra’s leg is strong enough to support the animal’s full body weight when galloping—up to 950 pounds.
We humans use our toes to help us grip when we walk and run, but zebras only have one toe per foot. Their early ancestors had three toes per foot, but modern zebras only have one, which is surrounded by a hard hoof. Their narrow feet and protective hooves allow zebras to run on rough terrain that would hurt most animals’ feet. It’s important for zebras to be good runners so that they can escape predators like leopards. But they’d get tired if they ran all the time—they spend many hours standing still every day, grazing!