If You Swap Zebra Milk For Human Milk, There’s A Chance No One Will Find Out


All mammals are capable of producing milk to feed their young babies, but if you’ve seen and tried even only two types of milk, you know that no two milks are the same. Or are they?

Some of us who think too much have been guilty of wondering what the difference between cow milk and human milk is. Or just any animal milk, in general. But before we move on to the animal whose milk is eerily similar to ours, we need to understand what even determines mammal milk in the first place. 

Milk-altering factors for the hidden nerd in you

If You Swap Zebra Milk For Human Milk, There’s A Chance No One Will Find Out

It would make sense if there were actually some factual reasons for why milk differs from mammal to mammal. And there are!

Even though types of milk have mostly similar ingredients, they differ quite a bit in proportion. 

The consistency, texture, taste and proportion of milk depends on two major factors: (i) the climate, and (ii) how long the baby needs to be nursed for. 

Take hooded seal milk, for example. This milk is 61% fat, but only because hooded seals live in very harsh climates and nurse for just 4 days. Therefore, the nutrients need to be transferred to the baby quickly.

Another factor that influences the content and texture of milk is if the mother is a meat-eater. Leaf eating animals have watery milk, while carnivores like lions and tigers have thicker milk. 

Human milk, and the milk of the zebra

Let’s take this step by step to ease it out.

The human milk…

If You Swap Zebra Milk For Human Milk, There’s A Chance No One Will Find Out

Human moms nurse for a long, long time. That is to say, anything between 12 to 36 months. This gives them a chance to transfer nutrients to the baby slowly, with time. If they were doing it like the seals we just talked about, not many of them would be left to run around chasing the kids!

Human milk is therefore around 88% water! The rest of it is 1.3% protein, 4% fat and 7.2% lactose

Now, the Zebra…

If You Swap Zebra Milk For Human Milk, There’s A Chance No One Will Find Out

Plain zebras live in arid climates. Mama zebras producing more watery milk, therefore, makes sense. Zebra milk is around 89% water! The rest of it is 7% lactose, 2.2% fat and 1.6% protein. The high water content of zebra milk keeps the baby zee hydrated, while allowing the mother to retain some nutrients.

What does this all mean?

If You Swap Zebra Milk For Human Milk, There’s A Chance No One Will Find Out

This means that human milk and zebra milk are almost the same! With similar characteristics and very close water content, their milk makes zebras the closest to us, milk-wise!

But no! Don’t swap it! 😀

If you liked this article, you’ll love: Swedish Blogger Makes Traditional Pastries With Her Own Milk


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