Many wild animals have stripes on their bodies. These colorful creatures have developed their stripes for a variety of reasons. Some animals have stripes that break up their outline to hide them from predators, or to conceal their presence from prey.
Other animals, like fish, use the stripes to attract mates. Still other creatures have stripes that are brightly colored, to indicate that they are poisonous or otherwise dangerous to would-be predators.
10 Animals With Stripes
The tiger is the largest member of the cat family, sometimes reaching 600 pounds in weight and 12 feet in length. They are found mainly in Asia, but in the past, tigers could also be found in parts of Europe, including modern-day Turkey.
Most species of tigers have bright orange-brown fur, and darker brown or black stripes. Scientists believe these stripes help the animals hide in the undergrowth of the jungles and forests where they live.
Tigers prey mainly on herbivores like deer or wild boars. They usually avoid humans, although they will attack if threatened or cornered. They are highly endangered, with perhaps fewer than 10,000 wild tigers surviving in the year 2020.
Zebras are black and white striped animals related to horses and asses. They are native to Africa, though they are often found in zoos.
In the wild, zebras live in tightly knit herds with one male zebra, or stallion, and several female zebras, or mares. They are herbivores, like horses, and graze on plains and scrubland. Zebras are often preyed upon by lions and other African predators.
Biologists are not certain why zebras developed stripes. One recent theory suggests that the stripes confuse certain species of blood-sucking insects, which do not attack the zebra because of its stripes.
3. Ring-Tailed Lemurs
Ring-tailed lemurs are native to the forest and scrub lands of Madagascar. They have gray and white bodies, and bright orange-brown eyes. However, they have very long, prominent tails which have gray and black stripes.
Ring-tailed lemurs are omnivorous, which means they will eat both plant material and other animals. They live in large family groups of around thirty individuals, and communicate both by calling with their voice, and releasing scent from glands on their body.
When irate, the ring-tailed lemur will engage in a “stink-fight” by rubbing its tail over its scent glands, and then waving it at other individual lemurs.
Although the ring-tailed lemur is common in zoos around the world, it is quite endangered in the wild, and it is very likely that there are more ring-tailed lemurs in captivity than on their native island of Madagascar.
The striped skunk is one of several species of skunks found in North America. It is black, with two white stripes running along its body. The striped skunk is one of several different species of skunk found in North and South America.
Those skunks come in many different colors, and while all have distinctive markings to warn off predators, a couple of species do not have stripes. Skunks are omnivorous, and will eat roots, berries, and other plant material. They will also eat insects, grubs, worms, and smaller animals.
Skunks have glands which manufacture a chemical that has a powerful and unpleasant scent. This is the skunk’s main defense against predators. However, the skunk does not manufacture enough of this scent in its body to spray possible predators whenever it wishes.
Instead, the skunk relies on its distinctive coloration, and an elaborate ritual of hissing, foot-stamping, and tail waving to deter an attacker. Only when all else fails does the skunk spray its assailant. Only the great horned owl is a regular predator of skunks.
5. Garter Snakes
The garter snake is a common animal found throughout most of North America. It has a dark green upper body, and a yellow or off-white lower body. Three stripes run for the entire length of its body from head to tail.
The stripes are usually yellow, but can be a variety of colors ranging from white to tan. Blue stripes have also been seen on some snakes. The common garter snake eats small insects and other small animals, both terrestrial and aquatic.
6. Ribbon Snakes
The eastern ribbon snake is a green and white striped snake that is found throughout the southeastern United States. Ribbon snakes, which are actually in the garter snake family, have very slender bodies with heads that are not much larger than the body.
The eastern ribbon snake can grow up to two feet long. They have a thin yellow stripe on either side of their bodies, and a thick stripe in the center of their backs. There are four different species of ribbon snakes in North America, all of which look similar.
Ribbon snakes eat frogs, salamanders and other amphibians. They hunt their prey by chasing it down and devouring it. Ribbon snakes live in bodies of water like pools and swamps, though they also live occasionally in trees. Ribbon snakes are not venomous, and all will flee when threatened, rather than attack.
There are three different species of freshwater angelfish: Pterophylum leopoldi, Pterophylum altum, and Pterophylum scalare. All three species are originally from the Amazon River and its tributaries. All three species have colorful stripes on their bodies.
Freshwater angelfish have rather large lips and are very popular as aquarium fish. They are somewhat easy to raise, and fairly easy to breed in captivity. One unusual aspect about breeding freshwater angelfish is that they form permanent pair bonds.
If one fish dies or is removed from the aquarium, the remaining fish refuses to breed with any other angelfish that may be placed in the aquarium as a replacement.
8. Jumping Zebra Spiders
The Jumping Zebra Spider has black and white stripes. It can be found throughout North America, and grows to about a quarter inch in size. In general, any sort of jumping spider hunts by stalking its prey and pouncing, rather than building a web..
Jumping Zebra Spiders are often found in open places where they can hunt. A wall, or other flat surface is preferred. They will often be found in homes, but they are not dangerous to people.
9. Honey Bees
The honeybee is an insect that lives in large colonies, or hives, sometimes consisting of many thousands of individuals. Honeybees have prominent stripes on their abdomen, alternating light and dark brown.
Honey bees gather pollen and nectar, which they carry back to their hive to convert into honey. This honey is used by the hive both to feed its young, and to survive the winter.
Honey bees are unusual among insects in that they have a social organization. Only one honey bee, the queen, lays eggs. All the other bees in the hive are either worker bees, infertile daughters of the queen, or drones, fertile male sons of the queen who are kept to breed with other queen bees.
10. Yellow Jackets
The yellow jacket wasp is an insect often confused with the honey bee. Yellow jackets can be most easily distinguished from the honey bee by the color of its stripes. The yellow jacket has distinct yellow and black stripes, while the bee has stripes which are shades of brown.
Yellow jackets live in colonies, like bees. They gather pollen and nectar for their larva, but make no honey. They also hunt other insects for food. While bees will defend their colony and sting intruders, yellow jackets can be quite aggressive.