How Many Stripes Does a Zebra Have?

Dimitry B./CC-BY 2.0

Individual zebras each have different numbers of stripes because they are all unique. Although the three species of zebras share general patterns, no two animals are exactly alike.

Zebras’ stripes may make it hard for predators to pick out an individual animal that is part of a fleeing herd. In addition, the stripes may help deter some insects. The Guardian reports that research from 2014 supports a theory from the 1930s that zebras’ stripes deter certain biting flies that can carry fatal diseases. The stripes may also play a role in zebras selecting mates, and they may help zebras remember other individual zebras.

Zebras live about 25 years and weigh between 440 and 900 pounds. Zebras are social animals that have never been domesticated. They live in a variety of areas, including mountains and plains.

They typically are slower than their closest relatives, horses, but their stamina helps them outlast predators. They suffer from many of the same diseases as horses, including parasites. Like horses, zebras sleep standing up. They only sleep when other members of the group are nearby to warn of danger.

Zebras have good hearing and vision with a wide field of view, and they have a keen sense of taste and smell. Two of the three species of zebras are endangered, which is primarily the result of the depletion of their habitat and hunting by humans.