A feisty 32-year-old zebra at the Houston Zoo known for sharing space with towering giraffes and holding her own has died of complications from old age.
Zoo officials say the female Grant's zebra named Charlie died Sunday morning.
Zoo spokeswoman Jackie Wallace said Wednesday that Charlie was born March 1, 1983, at the Houston Zoo and was a favorite of visitors.
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Charlie, who never had any offspring, spent her waning years living in the same habitat with the zoo's 10 giraffes.
Wallace says the zebra exhibit was being renovated in 2012 when Charlie was temporarily moved in with the giraffes due to the similar habitat.
Wallace says it turned out to be a great place for Charlie and she remained with the giraffes as the "self-appointed leader of the herd."
"If she was standing in the doorway to the barn, none of the giraffes would attempt to pass by her," the zoo posted on its blog.
Charlie died a month shy of her 33rd birthday, but outlived her life expectancy by eight years.
More: The Houston Zoo Blog