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Let’s Talk About Zebras

February 14, 2016

untitled-114.jpgAre zebras black with white stripes or white with black? Their white underbellies would suggest the latter, but according to our guides they are black with white stripes. Recent studies posit that their stripes are not primarily for camouflage, as previously assumed. Rather, their unique pattern seems to be a deterrent to flies, and also serves as a cooling mechanism. Who knew?

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At first glance, all zebras sort of look alike, but in fact they are like snowflakes: each has a unique pattern of stripes, a fingerprint, if you will.  The jury is still out on whether zebras recognize each other by their distinctive markings. Two Zebras.jpg

 

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We saw a lot of pregnant mares migrating with the wildebeests in Ngorongoro and Serengeti, as well as foals of all ages, with fuzzy fur running down their backbones and sprigged topknots that gave them the look of having just rolled out of bed. Though newborns must stand and walk within minutes of birth, mares nurse their babies for as long as a year. Zebras are good mothers, and all the mares in a harem will gather round to protect the youngsters from predators.

It’s hard to describe the sound they make: kind of a high wheezy bark. Very funny as they’re galloping away. And it’s entertaining to watch them take dust baths!

Dirt Bath

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