Why does A Zebra have Stripes?

Why do zebras have stripes?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ZEBRA? Their stripes, right? So now tell me if zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes? It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes. In reality they are black with white stripes and white underbellies. But why do they even have these stripes? Only to look fancy or are these stripes any useful?

These stripes are very useful for a zebra in many ways. Let’s explore.

  • The striping of the zebra helps it camouflage in the dry grass of the jungle. Though the grass is neither white or black but mostly predators are color blind and see grass as grey from a distance. The white and black together looks like grey from a distance.
  • Zebras are herd animals. Sometimes when they are together in a large group their stripes blend so well together that from a distance predator feels that it’s some big animal and they don’t attack. Why don’t you try to draw this giant imaginary striped animal that predators are scared of.
  • Stripes for zebras are like fingerprints for humans. They’re unique for each zebra. There is a possibility that the zebras recognise each other by their stripes. Imagine how zebras would fight about their looks – “Sulk sulk! I like his stripes better than mine.”
  • Scientists have done experiments to prove that these black and white patterns are great repellers for all kinds of flies. What a relief that must be!!

Now some funtime… Guess what is black, white and red in colour? A zebra with a sunburn! ha ha!


  1. Why do stripes repel flies? how about mosquitoes? I so many mosquitoes buzzing on top of my head when I am playing in the park in the evenings

    • We are able to see anything around us when light is reflected off objects and enters our eyes. However when the light hits the striped black and white surface,and goes back to the flies, it gives the flies a very uncomfortable feeling! Hence they like to keep a distance from the zebras.

  2. I always though how good it would be if some ancient king could have tamed thousands of zebras to carry their army. A zebra ridden cavalier force! How splendid it would be if Julius Caesar’s forces roamed around the Egyptian Nile on zebras.

  3. You said that a zebra’s stripes are like a human’s fingerprint.So if two twin zebras are born,even then their stripes will be different?

    • Yes Arusha. Even twin zebras will have different stripes just like how human twins have different fingerprints.

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