Of course we all know what a zebra looks like. At least we think we know what a zebra looks like: they have stripes. Do they? Look at these zebras:
You can recognise the zebra on the left and the zebra on the right. Now, what about the middle one?
Now the ‘middle one’ is on the left.
This zebra with very few stripes was the only one of its kind among a fairly large herd of zebra seen grazing not far from the Alicedale road.
My first thought was to show you a few different zebras grazing on what looks like very dry grass to greener grass. Putting these photographs together, however, provides a marvellous opportunity to showcase just how different the facial markings between zebras can be.
This zebra has bold facial markings – and a dusty nose!
Note the very fine lines on this one – which also has a dusty nose.
The facial markings on this one are very bold – more stereotypical of the way zebras are depicted in children’s books.
This zebra has firm, clear lines – and much greener grass to eat!
It is a week now that we have had to make do without water in our taps at home – the pump repairs, pipe repairs and whatever else may have gone wrong are supposed to be completed by Sunday. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to photographs of animals quenching their thirst in the Addo Elephant National Park. This time it is a herd of zebras.
Look at them, head down to slake their thirst at a waterhole. Drinking is clearly their main purpose for congregating here and judging by their focused actions, they must have been very thirsty.
Only a couple are left out, possibly they are keeping a look out on behalf of the others. There hardly seems to be space to fit in another zebra here.
This warthog didn’t think so either and settled down for a light doze in the sun until it too could get a turn to drink at the water hole.
There is no doubt that zebra are photogenic – I have a great number of photographs of them – for they are strikingly beautiful animals. I am particularly fascinated by the patterns on their faces as one can tell from these that, even though they might ‘all look the same’, there are indeed unique features about them. Zebra are often described as having patterns similar to our fingerprints; that no two zebra are exactly alike. I commented on a blog the other day that apparently the stripes on either side of a zebra are different. This is an observation I have read about but, as we usually only see one side of a zebra at a time, it is difficult to verify. Hunting through my collection, I came across a photograph of this zebra drinking at the Domkrag waterhole in the Addo Elephant National Park – an opportunity to see one from above.
The more I look at these two photographs, the more I appreciate how similar the stripe pattern is on both sides – until you actually follow the pattern closely. We seldom get the opportunity to do just that when we see zebra in the wild.
Zebras are distinctive. Their stripe patterns are an indication of just how distinctive they are – each one slightly different from the other.