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It is difficult to look at a zebra and not be captivated by its unique black and white stripes. From the moment they are born, zebras have these distinctive markings that set them apart from other animals in the wild. But what exactly is the purpose of their stripes?
Zebras vs Horses
Zebras are often mistaken for horses due to their similarities in size and shape. However, they are actually two very different animals. Zebras have longer ears than horses, smaller bodies, and of course, their famous black and white stripes. They also have a much thicker mane than horses do which makes them appear more rugged and wild. Zebras also have an incredibly strong sense of smell which helps them navigate through the savannahs where they live.
The Purpose of Stripes
The purpose of a zebra’s stripes has been widely debated for centuries. Some believe that the stripes help camouflage them from predators, while others think that it serves as a warning sign to potential attackers. Recent research suggests that the stripes may even have a cooling effect on the animal’s body temperature by reflecting light away from their bodies and keeping them cooler in hot climates. Regardless, one thing is certain the unique pattern of stripes makes zebras one of nature’s most interesting creatures!
Types of Zebras
Did you know there are three main species of zebra? The most common type is known as plains zebra which can be found throughout Africa northward into southern Europe. The second species is Grevy’s zebra which lives primarily in northern Kenya and Ethiopia and has much larger ears than its plains counterpart. Finally, there is the mountain zebra which lives mainly in South Africa and Namibia with smaller heads than either Grevy’s or plains zebras. All three species share similar behaviors but differ in size and location around the world.