By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

Zebra’s are a favourite of those in the chronic illness community, especially those with EDS. Why? It’s due to a popular phrase used during medical training:

If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not Zebras.

This phrase is supposed to help doctors reach the correct (most common) diagnosis, but for those with rare illnesses this training can be very harmful.

crochet zebra
Find these crochet Zebras on my Etsy shop. ©2019 The Reluctant Spoonie

I think that I first heard this phrase on an episode of House, MD. My first thought was ‘What if you are a zebra? What happens if they treat you like a horse?’ Like many people with an illness that is difficult to diagnose, I know too well what it is like to be treated like a horse (anxiety) instead of a zebra (POTS). My initial misdiagnosis lead to me receiving the wrong treatment and making my actual illness much worse. Of course, this training will help many people receive a swift diagnosis, but for those of us with rare illnesses, it can actually cause more harm than good.

Make your own zebra to keep you company using my free pattern below or buy one from my Etsy shop.

crochet zebra
Crochet Zebra ©2019 The Reluctant Spoonie

Zebra pattern


Crochet hooks (2.5 and 3 mm)
Yarn in black and white
Stitch marker
Dressmaker’s pins
tapestry needle
Polyfibre stuffing


sc = single crochet (dc UK)

Inc = 2 sc in same stitch

ch= chain

FO = finish off

Dec = sc two stitches together

Body (3 mm hook)

Start with white and alternate between black and white rows.

R1) Sc 6 MR (6)

R2) Inc x 6 (12)

R3) (Inc, sc) x 6 (18)

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R4) (Inc, sc, sc) x 6 (24)

R5 – 11) Sc around (24)

FO white yarn.

R12) in black sc, ch 8, turn and sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc x 7 and into starting stitch. Continue sc around (39)

R13 -19) rejoin white yarn and start at tail with white yarn; sc around alternating between white and black rows (39)

Begin to stuff head and body.

R20) FO white yarn. In black (Dec, 4 sc) x 6, dec, sc (32)

R21) (Dec, 3 sc) x 6 dec (25)

R22) (Dec, 2 sc) x 6, 3 sc (19)

Finish stuffing.

R23) (Dec, sc) x 6, sc (13)

R24) (Dec around) x6, sc (7)

FO black yarn.

Snout (3 mm hook)

In black

R1) Sc 6 MR (6)

R2) Inc x 6 (12)

R3) (Inc, sc) x 6 (18)

R4) (Inc, 2 sc) x 6 (24)

Bring in white yarn but keep black attached. You will be alternating between black and white rows from now on.

R5 – 9) sc around (24)

FO white yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Eyes (3 mm hook)

In black

R1) MR 7 (7)

FO Black yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew detail with white yarn.

Ears (3 mm)

In black

R1) MR 7 (7)

R2) sc around (7)

FO black yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Feet (2.5 mm)

In black

R1) MR 7 (7)

R2-4) sc around (7)

FO black yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Mane (3 mm hook)

Start between the ears and work backwards in a straight line alternating between white and black yarn.

Strand 1) ch 13

Strand 2) ch 12

Strand 3) ch 11

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Strand 4) ch 10

Strand 5) ch 9

Strand 6) ch 8

Weave in loose ends


Make a tassel by wrapping black and white yarn around your hand and tying off. Sew to back of Zebra and trim to desired length.

Making up

Sew snout to body. Sew ears, eyes and feet, sew on tail. Weave in ends.

crochet zebra
Finished Zebra ©2019 The Reluctant Spoonie
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