Lake Mburo Zebras...
Upon our arrival in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda, Africa, we were immediately greeted by tons of Zebras. They were everywhere in this expansive park that is located on the boarder of Uganda and Tanzania. Lake Mburo lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains and subsequently receives an average of 800 mm of rain a year. Zebras consist of several species of African equids united by their distinctive black and white stripes, which come in different patterns that are unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated due to the zebra's more unpredictable nature and tendency to panic under stress. Have you ever wondered if a Zebra is white colored with black stripes? Or black colored with white stripes? Well genetic research now shows that the Zebras background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions. It is likely that the stripes are caused by a combination of factors including:
1. The vertical striping may help the zebra hide in grass. While seeming absurd at first glance, considering that grass is neither white nor black, it is supposed to be effective against the zebra's main predator, the lion, which is color blind.
2. Another hypothesis is that since zebras are herd animals, the stripes may help to confuse predators—a number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack.
3. It has been suggested that the stripes serve as visual cues and identification. Although each striping pattern is unique to each individual, it is not known whether zebras can recognize one another by their stripes.
4. At least two experiments indicate that the disruptive colouration is an effective means of confusing the visual system of tsetse flies.