A new born male Grant’s Zebra is flanked by his mother Wendy at the Rome Zoo.
A zebra herd vocalizing.
Photograph by Chris Johns
Why do zebras have stripes at all? Scientists aren’t sure, but many theories
center on their utility as some form of camouflage. The patterns may make it
difficult for predators to identify a single animal from a running herd and
distort distance at dawn and dusk. Or they may dissuade insects that
recognize only large areas of single-colored fur or act as a kind of natural
sunscreen. Because of their uniqueness, stripes may also help zebras
recognize one another.