14 February 2011

Did you know... that no two zebras have stripes that are exactly alike

A zebra has typically vertical stripes on the head, neck, forequarters, and main body, and horizontal stripes at the rear and on the legs of the animal. With each striping pattern unique to each individual, zebras can, according to some researchers, recognize one another by their stripes.

While some experts believe that the stripes are mainly for identification, others believe that the stripes may have different functions:
  • The zebra's main predator, the lion, is color blind. Theoretically, a zebra, camouflaged in tall grass through the vertical striping when standing still, may therefore not be noticed at all by a lion.
  • Zebras are herd animals and so the stripes may help to confuse predators. A number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack.
  • The zebra's disruptive colouration may also be an effective way of confusing the visual system of the blood-sucking tsetse fly.
  • the stripes coincide with fat patterning beneath the skin, serving as a thermoregulatory mechanism for the zebra
btw - zebras are black animals with white stripes!

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