September 23, 2019

This zebra foal swapped stripes for polka dots!

This zebra foal swapped stripes for polka dots!
Dr. Chris Brown

Zebras are eye-catching at the best of times. But this foal was born with a coat that truly stands out from the rest. Here’s the bizarre reason his adorable markings are so unique...

This foal, nicknamed Tira, was first spotted (pun not intended) in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Rather than being a different species or cross with a horse, Tira actually has an incredibly rare genetic mutation called ‘pseudomelanism’. You see while all zebras have black skin and then grow stripes of black and white fur over the top, Tira’s mutation turns almost all his fur black. Only a few islands of white fur sneak through, causing his white spots.

The mutation has no other effect on his health and Tira seems to be growing well. While there are concerns around his ability to camouflage from predators and whether he’ll be a target for the biting flies the zebra stripes normally repel, his mum is thankfully highly protective of her son. No doubt celebrating her boy is most definitely one in a million.

Pics: Frank Liu

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