There are faux zebra rugs that are circulating in the market nowadays, like most other things. Many of them are easy to spot. But some are so well-made (e.g. dyed cowhide) that it would take an expert to know. On top of that, it is harder to tell when you’re buying from an online supplier.
We’ve created this guide to help decrease your chances of becoming a victim of a convincing counterfeit version of real zebra hides.
Buy from a reputable licensed zebra rug supplier
We can’t stress this enough: You should only buy from a licensed supplier with a good track record. Check if the supplier has a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) license. Having this license means that the zebra rug supplier is permitted to legally import, export, and sell zebra hides.
This also ensures that the supplier follow protocols that safeguards the endangered subspecies of zebras. The Burchell’s zebra is the only subspecies that can be culled and traded. They are not endangered, unlike the Grevy’s zebra. Here are the differentiating factors among the zebra subspecies.
Real zebra hides are not always perfect
Life in the wild is tough, and this is evidenced by imperfections on a zebra’s hide. A zebra hide’s grade is based on these imperfections. Trophy Grade is the highest among all and the most expensive. A Trophy Grade zebra hide is visibly perfect.
Grade A zebra skin is almost as perfect as a Trophy Grade. It has very little scarring, and most are not always visible to the naked eye. Grade B, on the other hand, have more visible imperfections.
The last one is Grade C. This type of scar has a good amount of noticeable imperfections. You can see these scarrings at first glance.
The stripes are black, white, and brown
The most popular connotation is that zebras only have black and white stripes. Some subspecies have black and brown ones, like the Burchell’s zebra. This type of zebra has bold black stripes and brown ones that are lighter in tone (shadow stripes).
Another good-to-know fact about zebra stripes is that they are unique to each zebra—just like a fingerprint!
Real zebra rugs are huge
Our Grade A no-felt zebra skin’s size is 9 ft. x 6 ft. wide from the head to the tip of the tail. Some are just a foot smaller. Faux zebra rugs are typically much smaller than the real ones.
Real zebra hides should not emit a chemical odor. It does have a faint smell of the usual scent that animals have initially, but this wanes over time. Other than that, it shouldn’t have an irritating pungent odor.
Notice that we didn’t add the price as a telltale sign. Price shouldn’t be a factor to gauge the authenticity of a zebra rug. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s the real deal.
Another tip is to ask for more photos from the supplier. Also, the supplier should have an excellent return policy. Better if it’s a no-questions-asked return policy.