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Dandy Designs title

The title of this article is Self-Destructive Defense.

A Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra) at a waterhole

A child said that a zebra is a horse in striped pajamas. Of course, zebras are not horses, and they do not wear pajamas. But have you ever wondered why zebras

There are at least five possible answers to that question. Probably the best known is so they can hide in the tall grass. But not all zebras live in areas with tall grass. Also, their main predators (lions and hyenas) are more likely to smell zebras before they see them.

Another possibility is that the stripes help to repel flies. In a study published in 2020, researchers tested that theory. They draped solid-color rugs on some horses and striped or checked rugs on others. They found that fewer flies landed on the horses with striped or checked rugs, and those biting African horseflies carry diseases that can be fatal for zebras.

Still, another idea is that stripes help zebras stay cool. The black and white areas create differences in heat exchange patterns causing air to move over the zebra's body.

Every zebra has a different stripe pattern, similar to every person having a different fingerprint. So maybe this allows the zebras to identify each other. We do not have to look at people's fingers to tell who they are. Instead, we look at their faces. However, zebra faces look pretty much the same except for those different stripe patterns.

Maybe those stripes work in another way to evade predators. Perhaps they fool predators by what is called “motion dazzle.” A bunch of striped zebras moving around might confuse a predator in the way a person can become confused or dizzy watching striped objects in motion. So it makes sense that it would be hard to pick out one animal in a herd of moving zebras.

So if we wonder why zebras wear stripes, the answer is — we do not know for sure. But why are those light and dark hairs so nicely arranged in beautiful stripes instead of being mixed together, resulting in a dull gray appearance? People appreciate beauty, and since we are created in God's image, he must also be a fan of beauty. I want to suggest that God just likes to add a little extra flair to his creations. Perhaps that is why zebras wear stripes.

Picture credits:
© New Africa. Image from big stock.com.