Animals with Stripes (Complete List With 11 Examples + Pictures)

Last updated on December 4th, 2023 at 12:55 am

In the wild, where the law of survival prevails, animals with stripes employ this feature as a clever camouflage tactic. Breaking up their outline helps them hide from predators and, conversely, remain unseen by their prey.

Just as humans have fingerprints and diverse skin colors, animals use stripes as unique identifiers. These distinctive patterns aid in identification, whether in domesticated settings or the untamed wilderness.

Some animals don stripes not just for aesthetic reasons but as a clear warning of potential threats. Wasps and certain spiders, with their bold stripes, signal danger, allowing others to steer clear and avoid harm.

11 Examples of Animals with Stripes

1. Tiger

Animals with Stripes

Image Source Pixabay

The tiger, the apex predator of the cat family, commands attention with its sheer size and distinctive markings. Native to Asia and once roaming parts of Europe, these magnificent creatures are characterized by their bright orange-brown fur adorned with dark brown or black stripes.

Scientists posit that the tiger’s iconic stripes serve a crucial purpose – camouflage. In the dense undergrowth of jungles and forests, the unique patterns help these majestic predators blend seamlessly with their surroundings, enhancing their prowess as stealthy hunters.

A single tiger can flaunt over 100 stripes on its fur. This intricate pattern is not merely a visual spectacle; it serves a functional purpose in the art of camouflage. The stripes aid tigers in stalking and pouncing on their prey with unparalleled precision.

2. Zebra

Animals with Stripes

Image Source Pixabay

Zebras, captivating black and white striped animals, share a distant relation with horses and asses. Native to Africa, these intriguing creatures are not confined to the wild; they often find themselves in the spotlight of zoos around the world.

The famous black-and-white stripes of zebras are not merely a visual spectacle; they are a sophisticated defense mechanism. These patterns generate optical illusions, making it challenging for predators to accurately time their attacks. The stripes create a visual misdirection, leading both predators and insects to make erroneous judgments.

Each zebra boasts a unique pattern of stripes, acting as a natural identifier. While camouflage is a common trait in the animal kingdom, zebras defy the norm. Their stripes make them stand out, particularly against the brown savannah backdrop, facilitating easy recognition within the herd.

3. Skunk

Animals with Stripes

Image Source Pixabay

The striped skunk, a species found in North America, exhibits a distinctive black fur with two white stripes along its body. Skunks come in various colors and species, each with unique markings designed to warn off predators. Some skunk species, however, lack the iconic stripes.

The stripes on a skunk’s back, leading directly to its rear end, serve as a crucial warning. These white lines are like an arrow pointing to the skunk’s most dangerous defense—the infamous stink spray. Capable of reaching predators from a distance of 10 feet, the white lines signal the consequences of encroaching too close.(Source)

4. Numbat

Animals with Stripes

Image Source Pixabay

These marsupials live in small family groups consisting of an adult pair and their young. Their social structure and distinctive appearance make it challenging to confuse numbats with any other animal. The numbat’s slender body and large bushy tail are key identifiers in the Australian landscape.

Numbats stand out with their slender bodies adorned with a handful of white stripes. Their small frames contrast with large, bushy tails that stand erect as they search for their primary sustenance—termites.

Numbats exclusively subsist on termites, utilizing their impressive 16 cm long sticky tongue to catch prey. Their specialized diet reflects their ecological niche and adaptation to the Australian environment. (Source)

5. Coral Snake

Animals with Stripes

Image Source Pixabay

Coral snakes, belonging to the cobra family Elapidae, are small yet venomous reptiles found in the United States. Their medium bright-colored bodies, adorned with distinctive stripes, serve as a clear warning to potential predators.

Measuring no more than 4 feet, coral snakes are relatively small but pack a potent venomous punch. Despite their toxicity, they are not typically aggressive. These elusive reptiles prefer marshy, wooded, and sandy habitats, spending the majority of their time burrowed underground.

The colorful striped pattern on a coral snake is a masterpiece of warning signaling. Alternating red and black stripes, with yellow bands bordering the red, create a vibrant yet cautionary display. Predators take heed when encountering a coral snake, recognizing the distinctive stripes as a signal of its venomous bite.(Source)

6. Striped Marlin

Striped marlins, majestic inhabitants of the sea, are easily distinguished by their pointed, protruding jaws and striking striped patterns. These elusive predators boast light blue stripes, numbering between 12 to 20 on each side, creating a mesmerizing contrast with their purplish-blue tops and white, silvery sides.

A unique trait of the striped marlin is its ability to change the color of its stripes, particularly when excited during feeding or mating. This adaptive feature adds another layer to the visual spectacle of these magnificent creatures, highlighting their prowess in the ocean’s vast expanse.

In a truly distinctive feature, the striped marlin gains additional stripes on its sides after death—a phenomenon exclusive to this species. This posthumous development adds to the allure and mystery surrounding these remarkable ocean dwellers.

7. Okapi

Image Source Pixabay

The okapi, a unique mammal hailing from the giraffe family, is an elusive resident of Central African countries like the Democratic Congo and Uganda. Often referred to as the forest giraffe, zebra giraffe, or Congolese giraffe, the okapi possesses distinctive features that set it apart from its giraffe relatives.

The okapi’s most striking feature is its stripes, strategically designed to serve multiple purposes. These stripes act as a natural camouflage, allowing the okapi to blend seamlessly into the shadows of the forest. Additionally, the stripes serve as a “follow me” signal for calves, placed at eye level to help them recognize their mothers.

While giraffes roam savannahs, okapis thrive in the tropical rainforests of the Congo. Their fur, ranging from dark and reddish-brown to dark purple and oily, aids in repelling water and keeping them dry in their lush, wet environment.(Source)

8. Mackerel Tabby Cat

Image Source Pixabay

The Mackerel tabby cat stands as the sole representative of striped patterns among domestic cats, believed by many to be the original tabby design. Its distinct feature is the presence of long, thin, and black stripes adorning its sides and stomach.

Identifying a Mackerel tabby is made easy by the prominent “M” shape of black fur on its forehead. This unique marking adds to the cat’s charm. Additionally, the Mackerel tabby boasts a “peppered nose,” featuring a pink nose adorned with scattered black dots.

The cat’s name, Mackerel tabby, draws inspiration from the mackerel fish due to its resemblance to the fish’s skeletal structure. This feline’s elegance in stripes and unique markings make it a standout among domestic cats, capturing the hearts of cat enthusiasts worldwide.(Source)

9. Jumping Zebra Spider

Image Source Pixabay

The Jumping Zebra Spider, adorned with distinctive black and white stripes, is a miniature marvel found throughout North America. Growing to a mere quarter inch in size, these tiny hunters eschew the traditional web-building approach, relying on stalking and pouncing to secure their prey.

Jumping Zebra Spiders prefer open spaces, particularly flat surfaces like walls, where they can stealthily hunt. While they are commonly found in homes, these spiders pose no threat to people and are generally harmless.

These minuscule arachnids measure up to seven millimeters in length, with males slightly shorter than females. Their abdomens feature three (sometimes four) white stripes, creating a striking pattern. Notably, the stripes closest to their abdomen are solid, while the central stripes are spaced, revealing the black base color in between.

10. Ferret

Image Source Pixabay

Ferrets, small and skinny animals, have made their mark across North America, Asia, and Europe. Recognizable by their brown or black stripes along their backs or heads, these petite creatures have become increasingly popular as pets in recent years.

In the wild, ferrets are predominantly nocturnal, spending most of their time underground in burrows. This behavior has evolved to suit their hunting and living patterns during the night.

Despite their lightweight and short-legged stature, ferrets are remarkably adept hunters. Their diet revolves around small animals like fish, mice, rats, and prairie dogs, showcasing their agility and predatory instincts.

11. Striped Hyena

Striped hyenas, with their stocky builds and distinctive black stripes, are fascinating creatures located in East and North Africa, as well as parts of Asia. These unique hyenas boast features that set them apart from their spotted counterparts.

Striped hyenas exhibit a range of coat colors, including gray, brown, or a golden yellow. However, their ears and muzzles consistently sport a striking black, matching the distinctive stripes that adorn their bodies.

The shy nature of striped hyenas aligns with their need for camouflage. The stripes on their bodies help them blend seamlessly into tall grass, providing an advantage in avoiding predators or potential threats. Additionally, being nocturnal scavengers and relatively poor hunters, they emerge at night to seek out food.

Final Words

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, stripes on animals play a crucial role in their everyday survival. Whether adorning predators or prey, these markings serve a common goal – ensuring the continuation of life in the wild.

From the Numbat to the Striped Marlin, Coral Snake, Mackerel Tabby Cat, and various bumblebees, stripes are not merely beautiful marks but strategic tools for survival. Each species utilizes these patterns for different purposes, reflecting the intricate dance of nature.

In exploring the significance of stripes in the animal kingdom, we’ve witnessed the fascinating ways in which these markings contribute to the survival of various species. We hope this glimpse into the world of nature’s unique creatures has left you intrigued and enlightened.

If you found this article captivating, we recommend delving into another fascinating read: Animals Without Teeth – a journey into the intriguing adaptations that define the diverse inhabitants of our planet.


1. Why do animals have stripes?

Animals typically have stripes for survival benefits. Stripes aid in camouflage, allowing them to blend into their surroundings, whether it’s to hide from predators or stealthily approach prey. This concept extends to other markings like spots and splotches.

2. Why do zebras have black and white stripes?

Zebras, particularly plains zebras, have black and white stripes for multiple reasons. One theory suggests that flies avoid landing on striped surfaces, providing a natural defense. Additionally, the white and black contrast aids in thermoregulation, helping zebras thrive in their environments.

3. How do stripes benefit predators and prey differently?

Predators use stripes for camouflage to stalk and surprise their prey effectively. Prey species utilize stripes as warning signals to deter predators, or in mimicry to confuse them, enhancing their chances of survival.

4. Are striped animals found all over the world?

Yes, animals with stripes are diverse and found across the globe. From Numbats in Australia to Striped Hyenas in Africa and Striped Marlin in the oceans, this evolutionary feature is prevalent in various ecosystems.


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