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There are many reasons why the zebra is striped, according to zebra theorists (a.k.a biologists). These reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Camouflage. It doesn't matter that the zebra's stripes are black and white and the lines of the grass are yellow, brown or green, because the zebra's main predator, the lion, is colourblind. The pattern of the camouflage is much more important than its colour when hiding from these predators. If a zebra is standing still in matching surroundings, a lion may overlook it completely. The dappling effect of the grass and the shadows caused also helps the "pyjama-ed horse" to blend in.
  • Travelling in herds, as zebras do, is also a help. As Sour has written, it is almost impossible for a lion to tell which darned zebra was the one that was lagging behind when they all look almost the same. Add that to the fact that a whole moving herd of zebra can look almost like just one giant mass to the attacking lion and the zebra is better off than you'd originally think.
  • The moving object that is the giant zebra herd makes it hard for the lion to even recognize which way each zebra is moving: Imagine the difference in pursuing one animal and charging into an amorphous blob of animals moving every way. This aids the baby zebras who run next to their parents, as it's hard for the lion to see the young ones.
  • Distancing is difficult for the lion, who doesn't have the great depth-perception we have. The stripes confuse the feline who is already having trouble distinguishing the zebra from the long grass around it.

Those wacky zebras are clever little things.

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