Thurston is built far more broadly than the other zebras seen in the series, and has a much thicker neck. This is most likely meant to indicate his position as lead stallion of the herd. His muzzle is dark gray, almost black. He has a large tuft of fur atop his head, that curls back and brown eyes with short lashes. Like other zebras in the show, he is white with black stripes, and has a small tuft of black fur at the end of his tail.
Thurston is a proud zebra, albeit somewhat dim-witted. He is easily spooked, cowardly, pusillanimous, and frightened, so he will run at even the slightest hint of danger. To make matters worse, he is also rather scatterbrained and forgetful, which has even caused him to forget where he lives, requiring the Lion Guard to lead him back safely (after initially becoming confused after Ono asks them to follow him, since, as Thurston pointed out, zebras cannot fly).
He is also very bitter, easily offended, vituperative, uncomplimentary, and opprobrious when the subject turns to the edibility of his own species.  Thurston firmly believes that zebras are the tastiest creature living in the Pride Lands, and will become very resentful and arrogant towards anyone who dares say otherwise. He is somewhat of a narcissist, and credits himself as the reason that the Lion Guard are so successful in their battles.
Thurston has also been shown to have a severe dislike of genets, due to their small stature, fur and long tails.
Seeing the Lion Guard talking among themselves, Thurston approaches them and asks them what the problem is. They tell him that they are looking for Flat Ridge Rock, and Thurston asks where that is. The Guard explains that the reason they were asking is that they do not know. Thurston confirms that he does not know the location of Flat Ridge Rock, then asks the Guard where he was going. Ono tells him that he was going back to his herd, and Thurston thanks him and returns to his fellow zebras.
When Lake Kaziwa floods, Bunga decides to create a dam to block the water. Thurston compliments Bunga on his idea and is later seen receiving advice from Bunga during the song Bunga the Wise. When Kion attempts to put a stop to Bunga's bad advice, Thurston gasps in shock.
However, when the temporary dam breaks, Thurston runs away with several other animals. Although he looks to Bunga for advice, Kion ends up being the one who saves the day, by using the Roar of the Elders to force the water back. Thurston cheers with the other animals at the victory.
Thurston and his herd are seen grazing in front of a ravine, oblivious to the fact that the Lion Guard is trapped inside. Ono approaches Thurston, requesting that he moves out of the way so that Kion can use the Roar of the Elders to free the Guard. Thurston points out that he's eating and does not move. Ono finally resorts to diving at the zebras, frightening them. Thurston calls out to his herd, telling them to panic and run. The herd flees to safety.
Thurston is one of the grazing Pride Landers who scatters in fear after Mtoto cries out, warning of a hyena attack. He ends up crashing into one of his herd members before rushing to the rock where the other Pride Landers stand, terrified. He is later seen with the other animals complaining to Beshte over safety issues in the Pride Lands. He points out that zebras are the best-tasting animals in the Pride Lands. He is interrupted as Shauku, Kwato and Gumba rush in to ask Beshte for help. Thurston believes the children are lying, but Gumba assures him they're being honest and that Mtoto really is in danger. When Beshte leaves to save Mtoto, Thurston cries out in fear, asking who will protect him.
When Tamaa, the drongo, is kidnapped by Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu, he mimics Kion's voice and orders the impalas to move into the Outlands as per their orders. Thurston is grazing with the impalas and hears him. Frightened, he gasps and remarks that he doesn't need to be told a second time. He then repeats, "Panic and run!" twice before fleeing with a whinny.
Still calling, "Panic and run!", he approaches the Lion Guard. He insists that the Outlands is the only safe place to be while bending down towards Bunga. Bunga pushes his muzzle back, and Fuli asks him where he got the idea. He responds that Kion told him. Kion denies it, but Thurston insists that he heard him and informs the Guard that zebras have the keenest sense of hearing in the Pride Lands. Fuli asks him why he didn't go to the Outlands, and he admits to her that he was going, but did not know that way. Kion has him confirm that he heard but didn't see him, and Thurston tells him that hearing is believing. When the Lion Guard leaves for the Outlands, Thurston is confused and says that he thought they weren't supposed to go to the Outlands.
Thurston and his herd are startled and immediately panic and run. This is seen by Ono, who returns to the Lair of the Lion Guard and gathers up the Guard to help them. With Bunga helping to reign Thurston in, the Guard successfully calm the herd down. When questioned what happened, he explains that a loud 'boom' caused them to panic and run. Ono believes it to be the recent storm, and Thurston agrees that it likely was(after being explained what a storm actually is). After Kion asks him to, Ono shows Thurston and his herd the way home, after Thurston questions how he's supposed to lead when they can't fly. He soon realizes what he meant, and chases after Ono.
They are only settled in their grazing grounds for a short time, as Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu emerge and frighten him away. Thurston and two other zebras wind up near Maji Baridi Falls, and the Guard manage to locate him later. When Beshte accidentally knocks a boulder, he and the other two zebras panic and run straight into the water. With no other choice, Kion uses the Roar of the Elders to push the water back and save the three zebras from falling off the waterfall. Thurston lands safely on Beshte's back, complimenting it as 'comfy'.
Thurston is briefly seen eating grass during Life in the Pride Lands. He glances with surprise as a butterfly lands on his nose, before he continues grazing. He appears again as Twiga and three more giraffes walk in front of the zebras.
Later, Ajabu begins to graze amongst the zebra herd. Thurston approaches him and questions him, asking if he's a zebra. Upon hearing that the okapi is indeed not a zebra, Thurston exclaims that he knew it. He proceeds to interrogate Ajabu, attempting to guess what he is. He hushes Ajabu when the okapi tries to tell him, wanting to guess correctly himself. Ajabu suddenly shouts leopard, confusing Thurston further, as he does not know what a leopard is. Ajabu describes a leopard briefly, and Thurston turns and, spotting Makucha creeping towards them, he advises Ajabu to panic and runs. The herd begins running in circles, which causes Thurston to crash into Makucha. He begs of the leopard not to eat him, to which Makucha responds that he's after somebody tastier than the zebra and shoves Thurston away. He is highly affronted and proceeds to mutter to himself even after Makucha has gone.
Thurston is in a rush and hurries along a certain path, but he bumps into Bunga and Ono, who inform him that the way forward is temporarily off-limits. Thurston ignores the honey badger and egret's warning and rushes past the pair in a hurry, disregarding their information completely. Ono and Bunga hope he'll be okay, but Thurston soon calls them over for help, after falling in the thick mud himself.
When the Lion Guard is searching for the Zimwi, they encounter Thurston panicking and running in a small forest. After Kion manages to calm him down, they question what has startled him so badly. Bunga mentions the Zimwi, which disgusts Thurston, who denies being afraid of something which doesn't exist. This pleases Kion, who has been trying to tell his friends that the Zimwi isn't real, and it causes Thurston to laugh just thinking about it. When Fuli tries to ask again what he was frightened of, the zebra accidentally forgets. He soon remembers that it was genets, which sends him into a frenzy again. He leaps away from the Lion Guard, leaving them to continue their mission.
Thurston races to a sausage tree in order to see a group of baboons that he has heard so much about. When the Traveling Baboon Show arrives, they are introduced as Uroho, Mwevi, and Mwizi. Uroho jokes with the zebras, thanking them for taking the time not to "panic and run", which Thurston finds amusing because it's true. The show begins, with Mwevi making a flower appear before Thurston's very eyes (which he promptly devours). Once the performance has finished, Thurston leaves to find food.
But once he returns to a patch where food was aplenty, he and several other animals discover that it's gone. When the Lion Guard is called over, Ma Tembo starts to explain the problem. Just as Mbeya starts speaking, Thurston bursts in, angry at the rhino for almost preventing him from telling the Guard the rest of the tale. Repeating what Mbeya told the Guard, they start to consider who could have stolen all the food in just a short period of time. Bunga suddenly suggests a zebra, which offends Thurston. But when the small clump of grass he eats reveals a caterpillar, he panics and runs away, proving that Thurston was not the culprit.
Thurston and his herd get their hooves stuck in some dry mud after they go looking for the water which is normally there. When the Lion Guard arrives, Kion uses his Roar on a rain cloud, dispersing some water which helps loosen the mud, and Thurston is able to free himself. Although Beshte gets swept away, Thurston and his herd members are saved, and he tells his herd, that they don't need to panic and run from now on, just panic, as that will be enough.
As the Lion Guard deals with fire, Ono notices Thurston and his herd stampeding and informs Kion. After the fire has been put out, the Guard calms the zebras down, and Kion asks to hear about what had happened. As Thurston explains, Ono realizes what he is talking about, and explains to his friends. Kion tells the zebras that they can continue grazing and corrects them when they go in the opposite direction. He sends Ono with them and Ono tells the zebras to follow him, with Thurston echoing his statement then he is later seen during Three of a Kind.
Thurston is drinking water with the rest of his herd until the Lion Guard approaches him with great speed and cries for him to get out of the way because a herd of buffalo is stampeding. He is a bit annoyed but does as he is told. Later, Thurston runs into the Guard with his herd searching for a new watering hole. The Lion Guard sees how the zebras repel the tsetse flies, which are obscuring their vision and request the herd to come with them to find a waterhole. Thurston obliges, happy at the idea of a Lion Guard escort.
Later on, Thurston tells the Guard about how he 'earned' his stripes, which, being incorrect, annoys Ono. Thurston then notices Madoa approaching and begins to panic. Kion tells him to calm down, and he and the Guard run to the Outlands to rescue Jasiri. Once they enter, they realize that the flies are no longer pestering them, and the Guard decides to send Thurston back to the Pride Lands. Thurston is headed the right way at first, but then switches and heads further into the Outlands. The Lion Guard notices he is still in the Outlands, although he believes he is in the Pride Lands. The Lion Guard wants to quickly save Jasiri and leaves Thurston intrigued at the thought of a vent exploding, despite not knowing what a vent actually is. Thurston follows the Guard and is soon confronted by Cheezi and Chungu.
Cheezi and Chungu are confused when Thurston states, that they are in the Pride Lands, and Cheezi proceeds to ask for directions back to the Outlands. Thurston begins talking with much action in the background, including the retreat of the hyenas and the saving of Jasiri, Tunu, and Wema. Cheezi and Chungu, disappointed that they didn't eat him, invite him back for dinner as they retreat, causing Thurston to become unafraid of those hyenas. Despite this, he panics when he sees Jasiri, but is soon calmed down. With their mission complete, Thurston and the Guard head back to the Pride Lands. Once home, Kion thanks him and states that the bravery he had is the kind that is needed in the Guard. Thurston misunderstands and runs to his herd and states excitedly, that he is a member of the Lion Guard.
When Bunga wants to give his uncles the best Christmas ever, Thurston agrees to join in with the celebrations. After rehearsing all night, they are about to give up, until Bunga reveals to them how important it is to him, and why.
They return and perform The Twelve Ways of Christmas with the other animals, with Thurston's herd performing for the fifth day of Christmas with 'Panic and run'.
Thurston is standing in a group of animals being entertained by Tamaa. When the Lion Guard approaches the group, Tamaa is mimicking him, who is laughing and marveling at how it seems like he's talking, but he is actually not. When Tamaa finishes the performance, Thurston says "bye" and Tamaa says "bye" back in Thurston's voice. He laughs about how he's saying bye to himself.
Thurston and his herd start to panic and run when they hear a talking rock. However, the Guard didn’t hear anything, and Kion starts to question about the rock. The Guard investigates the matter, and the voice on the rock turns out to be the chameleon Kinyonga, who had camouflaged herself atop the rock.
At the end of the episode, Thurston starts talking to the rock again, attempting to make friends with it. He is unaware that the rock is Kinyonga, until she eventually reveals herself, causing him and his herd to panic and run.
When they arrive in the Outlands, Thurston remembers being there from a previous encounter. They talk about the Lion Guard's weaknesses. He explains that if you put flowers against their noses, it will make them sneeze a lot. Cheezi and Chungu decide not to bring him to Janja, and instead leave with the intention of putting his 'advice' to good use to make Janja and Scar even more proud of them.
Soon, Goigoi notices Thurston in the Outlands. Goigoi talks about the Guard's weakness too. Thurston says, that the guard can't see him because of his stripes. Soon Tamka, and Nduli decide to hunt for some food. They find Thurston sleeping in the Outlands. They try and sneak up on him but he wakes up. Thurston says that, if you rub the Guard's tummies, they'll fall asleep. Tamka and Ndili go to try it. Later Cheezi, Chungu, Goigoi, Tamka and Nduli all come back and are mad because they got defeated by the Lion Guard. The villains' fight over which part of Thurston they wanted to eat. However, the Lion Guard came to save Thurston and they all walk home back to the Pridelands.
While exploring a cave Thurston comes across Kion, Bunga, Kiara, Tiifu and Zuri. After finding out that he was trapped in the dark, Tifu comes back to help clam him. Tiifu explains that someone taught her that there's nothing to fear down here. The two of them become friends and head home together.
Thurston's herd is going to the Watering Hole, but the giraffes are still drinking. Then a gorilla named Shujaa comes and starts attacking trees. The zebras start to panic and run with the giraffes following them. Kion tells Beshte and Ono to calm them down.
Thurston's herd attends the Mpando Mpaya celebration, where Makini will plant a baobab seed. However, the Army of Scar ruins the event and Scar reveals himself in front of the Pride Landers.
After witnessing the evil lion, the zebras start to panic and run which causes the other herds to do the same. The Lion Guard goes to calm down the herds and they all are thinking about leaving the Pride Lands.
The next morning everyone is gathered at Pride Rock and Kion comes with an announcement. Makini's Mpando Mpaya has survived the battle. Everyone has agreed to stay in the Pride Lands and the baobab tree is planted.
When the Lion Guard leaves the Pride Lands to search for the Tree of Life, Thurston and his herd join many other Pride Landers to bid him farewell, assuring Kion that his zebras will help protect the Pride Lands while the Guard is gone. Kion thanks him using his name before leaving, and Thurston then tells his herd that Kion did know his name.
Thurston is seen stuck in a hole after Kion and Vitani's lion guards arrive. As the two guards bicker, Azaad tells him to push backwards, with Thurston being set free. He then tells the two guards that the zebras have a competition to see who is best, them both agreeing, with Thurston leaving to spread the word. He then watches the Battle of the Guards, watching Beshte, Bunga, Fuli and Anga's challenges. He then watches as Kion forefits his title and when he fully masters the Roar of the Elders and lifts up Pride Rock. Later, he goes to the Tree of Life where he attends the wedding of Kion and Queen Rani alongside Kion's Coronation where he talks to Pinguino, telling him that he taught Kion all he knows.
The character's voice actor, Kevin Schon, revealed that his name is Thurston, making him one of the few characters without a Swahili name. His name is a tribute to Jim Backus, who played Thurston Howell in Gilligan's Island.
The first time Thurston was named officially was in the blind bag series.
Thurston's name was not mentioned anywhere in the series until The Zebra Mastermind, where his name was mentioned in subtitles.
The first and only time Thurston's name is ever spoken out loud is when Kion thanked him by name before departing the Pride Lands at the end of Battle for the Pride Lands. The show humorously acknowledges that fact when Thurston soon turned to his herd and said "I told you he knew my name."