When you think of places you’d see a zebra you may think of the zoo or on a safari. You definitely wouldn’t expect to see one in your backyard. But that’s exactly what’s been happening to Maryland residents. Zebra sightings in Maryland have continued as residents just spotted one crossing the street. Other residents saw three zebras last week.
One resident, Chris Horrell, told Fox 5 DC that he saw a zebra walking across Croom Road in the Upper Marlboro area of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Despite the fact that this is odd, there is an explanation, and it lies in an escape at an exotic animal farm.
Earlier this month, Rodney Taylor, Prince George’s County Animal Control chief, said that three zebras have escaped from a private farm. Now, Animal control officials are telling The Washington Post that five zebra actually escaped from the private farm.
It’s not every day that you see a live zebra when looking out your window or taking out the trash, but that’s exactly what’s been happening to residents in the area. Hopefully, the zebras will be caught soon and brought home. Now, 23 days after the zebras initially escaped, people in Maryland are still spotting them.
Why These Zebras are So Tricky to Catch
With their notable black and white strips, they don’t exactly blend in with their surroundings, but animal control has struggled to catch them due to their impressive speed. Zebras can run at around 35mph according to the San Diego Zoo. They also don’t move like horses, and as wild animals, their behavior can be quite flighty.
“They’re a lot stronger than most horses. They’re a lot more flighty because they’re, you know, it’s a wild animal, it has a stronger fight or flight response. And man, they’re just super powerful and super-fast and they’re suspicious of everything so it takes our staff a long time to train them for things like … procedures, hoof-trims, blood draws, things like that,” Mike McClure with the Maryland Zoo told Fox 5. He’s responsible for operating the animal department there and warns people not to get too close.
While zebras may look like horses, they are, in fact, very wild. But ownership of zebras isn’t necessarily illegal in Maryland for those who are licensed. The owner of the zebra farm is an exotic animal trader licensed in the state of Maryland. He has around 40 zebras on the farm. It’s unclear if the owner keeps other animals on this farm, or only keeps zebras.
If you do live in the area, don’t approach the zebras. Instead, take pictures and contact animal control. Some who live in the area where the zebras have been spotted are also asking people to be courteous and not park on their private property to try and spot the Animals.