Zebras create a wide spectrum of vocalizations and sounds. The zebra has a distinctive tactile call (called “bark”), which sounds like “aha, aha, aha” or “kwaha, kawha, ha, ha. The Grévy’s zebra’s call has been described as “something like the growl of a hippopotamus combined with the whistle of a donkey, while the mountain zebra is relatively calm.
Loud snorting in zebras is related to alarm. Screams usually occur when there is pain, but singles also scream when fighting. Zebras’ flexibility of their lips allows them to create complex facial expressions. Visual cues also include head, ear, and tail positions. A zebra may signal an intention to kick by tilting its ears back and sometimes wagging its tail. Threatening gestures, especially between stallions.
Plains and mountain zebras strengthen their social bonds through grooming. Members of a harem bite and scratch the neck, shoulder, and back with their teeth and lips. Grooming usually takes place between dams and foals and between stallions and mares. The grooming shows the status of well-being and facilitates aggressive behavior. Although Grévy’s zebras do not perform social care, they sometimes rub against another individual.