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Barry Bath

Contributor

Barry grew up in Johannesburg and knew from a young age that he had a true love for the African bush yet it was only after spending several years in the corporate world in Europe, followed by a two year sabbatical of traveling ...

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17 Comments

on A Further Take on the Matter of Stripes

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Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Zebra are known for their tough migration and sophisticated interactions. In addition they are so beautiful! Thank you for updating with deep information on them. The foal is too cute… all pictures are lovely

Irene Henkes
Senior Digital Ranger

Oh, love this. It sounds very plausible, esp when the black hairs are raised and the white ones are not. Interesting!!

An exciting theory. Why not?

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Dear Barry, great article on zebras with really interesting theories regarding their stripes. Thanks!

Victoria Auchincloss
Master Tracker

That is a great deal of interesting information. I wonder what new theories will arrive in the future!! Thank you! Victoria

Wendy Macnicol
Digital Tracker

Hi Barry. Thank you very much for the interesting facts about the colour and cooling effect of how the Lord made them. HOWEVER, you still have to answer the age old question of whether Zebras are black with white stripes – or white with black stripes! Comments would be appreciated! Neil and Wendy M

Barry Bath
Contributor

Hi Neil & Wendy, interestingly enough if you had to shave a zebra you would find that their skin is actually black. As the embryo is developing in the uterus it is actually black. Later on the white stripes start to emerge as the gene code for the dark pigment melanin is selectively deactivated for specific hair follicles. This is also why each zebra has its own unique pattern. Fascinating stuff in my opinion.

Valmai Vorster
Digital Tracker

I have learnt something now Barry from your very interesting story on the Zebra stripes. Never could I imagine that the black hairs could raise up and allow the sweat to go to the tips for evaporation. I am sure these beautiful Zebra are getting hot in this African sun of ours, and that is a way to cool themselves down. So glad that you wonderful Rangers speculate about these theories and talk about them between yourselves and tell us about it. Shame I am sure those horrible flies do also bite them and irritate them. Thanks Barry for your intelligent answers to the matter of the Stripes.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Thanks Barry for another interesting/informative article addressing a “why does” question pertaining to an African plains animal. There are so many professional and non-professional theories bantered about, that one doesn’t know what to believe, so zebras’ stripes will be debated forever-until there’s scientific proof. Until then, I like to think a dazzle of zebra is a group that is unique and beautiful, whatever the reason for their stripes.

Johanna Browne
Senior Digital Ranger

This is fascinating and makes a great deal of sense. Thank you for the edification! The photography is lovely, especially the zebra’s back photo.

Moira McLachlan
Explorer

very interesting article, thank you.

Barbi Evenson
Senior Digital Ranger

There are not too many things that compare to the strips of a zebra! I find them absolutely stunning! You photos are wonderful… and your theory… as long as Zebras walk the plains, we will ponder over such an amazing creature…I truly just love looking at how beautiful they are! Thank you for the share!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Barry, Thanks for the educational post on Zebras! We so appreciate when we get to learn about the wildlife we see at Londolozi! Really interesting information – wow!

Karin Webber
Explorer

Stunning photos!

Jennifer Ridgewell
Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting theories and beautiful photos – thank you.

William Paynter
Senior Digital Ranger

Fascinating Barry, adaptation to ones environment has allowed for survival for most if not all species.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

I love these thought prevoking topics you all bring up from time to time. Such a fascinating read Barry and as always have learnt a thing or two about these beautiful animals. Super interesting that the foetus is jet black and that the strips form at a later stage during gestation. Perhaps it’s lucky for them that it is not the other way around, much like the Dalmatian who’s generally white at birth and it’s ‘ticking’ or spots develop after a few weeks. Zebra would have a few hot and very exposed days to be preyed upon and the possible added defect of being deaf !

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