Most people know that zebras have stripes, but do you know why they have them?
Some people think that the stripes help to confuse predators since they can’t easily identify which is the prey and which is the predator.
But scientists now believe that the stripes actually play a very important role in helping zebras stay cool.
There are a couple of reasons why scientists came to this conclusion.
First, observe a zebra in the wild and you will notice that they spend a lot of time standing or lying down in open areas.
This is not an accident.
What Are a Zebra’s Stripes For?
Zebras have evolved over millions of years to live where the grass is short so that they can best use their natural cooling mechanism – their stripes.
When the sun shines on a zebra, it reflects off the stripes and creates small areas of shade.
This helps to cool the zebra down, especially on hot days.
The stripes also help to circulate air around the body, which further helps to keep them cool.
In fact, a study showed that when zebras were painted white, they didn’t remain in the same open, sunny areas for long.
Instead, they moved to shadier areas.
Another reason why zebras have stripes is to help protect them from insects.
It turns out that mosquitoes are less likely to bite zebra stripes than they are plain dark fur.
This might seem odd at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
The stripes disrupt the outline of the zebra’s body, making it harder for mosquitoes to find their target.
The black and white stripes of a zebra work like a radiator.
It helps cool the animal down in the hot sun.
The black stripes absorb the heat from the sun, while the white stripes reflect it away.
This is why zebras are often seen standing in the open where they can get the most benefit from the stripes.
So next time you see a zebra, remember that those stripes aren’t just for looks.
They actually play an important role in keeping the animal (literally and figuratively) cool and healthy.
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