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What Sound Does a Zebra Make? [Audio] 4 Zebra Sounds, Barks, Noises

You might be surprised to learn that zebras are actually kinda noisy. What sound does a zebra make? In this post, you'll learn about 4 primary zebra sounds, barks, and noises. And what each sound means.

zebra sounds

4 Zebra Sounds, Barks, and Noises

Are you surprised that zebras actually make sounds? They have a fairly simple set of sounds and noises for communicating with their herd.

Here's what each of these noises sound like. Then, we'll cover what each noise means.

  1. Zebra bark: This sounds somewhat like the pitchy bark of a yappy little dog. This bark surprises most travelers – and can sound like a mix of a bark and a whimper.
  2. Bray: Sounds like a donkey – but with much wider range. It begins like a low growl and gradually increases in pitch until it becomes very high (almost like a squeal).
  3. Snort: This is a short, abrupt burst of air through its nostrils.
  4. Nicker: Similar to the snort, but blown much softer.

What Do Zebra Sounds Actually Mean?

Okay, now what are zebras actually communicating with each of these sounds?

Here's what the zebra sounds actually mean:

  1. Zebra bark: This yappy-bark sound is used to get attention of other members of the heard. It's also used as a type of greeting among zebras. As a result, it's commonly heard among zebra herds.
  2. Bray: This is used to call a mate. And sometimes it indicates frustration or anger.
  3. Snort: This short sound has a complex meaning. As with horses, it can be a form of greeting (like the bark). But it can also be a warning of aggression or danger. The difference in meaning can often be determined by watching the change in body language of the zebra.
  4. Nicker: The nicker is an affectionate sound reserved for member of the herd. Zebra mothers often nicker to their foals.

What does a zebra sound like?

Depending on the specific sound, zebras noises have been compared to:

  • yappy dogs
  • squealing pigs
  • snorting horses
  • braying donkeys
  • growling cats

But while they have similarities to all these animal sounds, they have a sound that is unique to them.

Do zebras actually bark?

Yes, zebras make a noise that sounds a lot like a small yappy dog. It has been described as a bark.

baby zebra sounds

What does a baby zebra sound like? 

Not surprisingly, baby zebras sound a lot like adult zebras. From my research, it seems that baby zebras have a more limited set of sounds and noises.

Baby zebras make an even higher pitched barking sound – primarily to communicate with its mother.

Here's what a zebra foal sounds like:

what sound does a zebra make

Learn more about zebras and other animals you can see in Uganda.

Travel Tip: To capture zebras and their fascinating sounds, make sure that your safari camera has both a decent lens and a quality mic.

Also, make sure that you know where the mic located on your camera – so you don't accidently have your finger over it when you're filming some barking zebras.

Listen to audio of zebra sounds.

Your turn

Have you heard a zebra make his noise? Which sound is your favorite?

Are you planning a trip to see zebras in the wild? Where are you planning to visit? Join me in the comments!

About the author: Bryan Haines is co-editor of Uganda365 – and is working to make it the best source of information about Uganda travel. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

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