Animal Facts - Zebras



In this page, we will look at the Zebras.

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Do zebras have black skin with white stripes or white skin with black stripes?

There are three species of zebras; the plains zebra has stripes all over its body, while the Grevy’s and mountain zebras have stripes up top but completely white bellies. Does this mean that zebras are white with black stripes? But, that is just their hair. If you were to shave a zebra bare from head to hoof, you would find that their skin is black.

plain zebra



The stripes act as a camouflage mechanism. This is accomplished in several ways.

First, the vertical striping helps the zebra hide in grass. While seeming absurd at first glance considering that grass is neither white nor black, it is supposed to be effective against the zebra's main predator, the lion, which is color blind. Theoretically, a zebra standing still in tall grass may not be noticed at all by a lion.

Additionally, since zebras are herd animals, 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. A herd of zebras scattering to avoid a predator will also look like a confused mass of vertical stripes traveling in multiple directions making it difficult for the predator to track an individual visually as it separates from its herdmates.



This video shows how a zebra escapes the jaws of a lioness.



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