What do you call a group of?????
I'd heard of some of these terms used to describe animal groups but I'd never heard of a "dazzle of zebra" before going to Africa. And what a perfect name it is! When a group of zebra are together moving, the stripes juggling around on legs, bodies and faces is mesmerizing. Dizzying. In fact, a "dizzy of zebra" wouldn't be a half-bad term to use. With my eyesight and ever-wavering horizon if I watched too long I'd have to glance away to get re-stabilized. I'm sure there's a similar effect on lions and hyenas, the primary predators of the zebra. Mother Nature rewards success and the zebra evolved, striped, for camoflage. In the tall grass with deep shadows, they disappear. "Look at the zebra," someone exclaims and as the dazzle trots into the grass they disappear like a puff of smoke. Safe....for the moment.
In a typical zebra cluster, the safest place to be is in the middle. Standing out from the crowd increases the chance of being picked off by a lion or hyena. An animal standing alone could be sick and therefore easy pickings.
Every zebra has unique stripes; they're like fingerprints, and even though they all look alike to us, a foal can spot it's mother immediately from her striping.
The beautiful stripes have inspired artists:
One cannot think of stripes without conjuring up the image of prison uniforms. Prison officials used the stripes so that prisoners would be immediately recognizable; in many ways, the exact opposite motivation of Mother Nature in her allocation of stripes to the zebra.