Why do tigers have stripes?

Why do tigers have stripes that make them stand out from the crowd?


Tigers were given stripes so they could blend into the surrounding vegetation and shadows in order to sneak up on their prey and have the opportunity to relax in peace, guarding themselves from other animals. If you were to shave all the fur off an individual tiger, the stripes would still remain on the bald skin, they don’t just grow in its fur. When hunting, tigers stalk their prey closely, having the stripes on their fur will help keep them hidden from their prey until they are ready to pounce. Scientists say that many wild animals are colour blind, or do not see vivid colours, instead they only see certain shades. This means that the tigers vertical stripes would then look like bands of shadow and light in the tall grass. The stripes break up and hide the outlines of its body as it hunts, making it hardly noticeable.


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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/stuutje

Photograph: Mathias Appel