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Spotted: Rare White Polka Dotted Zebra Baby

Rare polka-dotted zebra Image by Hassanein via YouTube

When I picture a zebra, I imagine the classic black-and-white striped coat. However, this zebra defies all expectations. In the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, the birth of a unique zebra has caught the attention of the media. Read further to learn why this young foal was born looking very different from the rest of the herd.

Tira – The White polka Dotted Zebra

Unique zebra. Image by Hassanein via YouTube

In September 2019, a unique plains zebra (Equus quagga) foal with a unique coloration was born in the Masai Mara National Park. This zebra was the first in the park to be born with such unique coloration. However in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, similar foals have been seen. The white polka dotted zebra has a rare genetic mutation called pseudomelanism. This mutation presents a mostly black coat with white spots. This pigment is so uncommon that it has earned her the title of the rarest zebra in the world.

A Meaningful Name

YouTube video
“World’s Rarest Zebra”, Source: “YouTube”, Uploaded: “Animals Around the Globe”

The name Tira was given to her by the locals. The means ‘small village’ in Hebrew. They chose this name because she stands out among the other zebras in the Masai Mara, as would a small village in the vast savannah.

Since her birth, Tira has been fitting in well amongst the herd of Zebra. Although she is different the herd has not ostricised her.

Characteristics of Zebra

  • Coat: Zebras are black with white stripes. Although this is commonly debated, several pices of evidence confirm that they are black with white stripes. Analysis of their embryos and genetic information confirm that zerbras start out with black skin and develop white strpes later in the embryonic stage.
  • Social Animals: Zebras are social animals. They move in herds for protection against predators. Their family units consist of one stallion, several mares and their young. Multiple family units may join together to form larger herds. This commonly occurs during migrations.
  • Herbivorous Diet: They feed primarily on grasses, leaves and other plant materials.
  • Excellent Vision: Zebras have large eyes on the sides of their heads. This provides them with a wide field of view suitable for spotting predators.
  • Strong Hearing: Zebras possess acute hearing, which is crucial for detecting the sounds of potential threats.
YouTube video
“The Return of Tira, The spotted Zebra”, source: “Youtube”, uploaded: “Hassanein”

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Thursday 16th of November 2023

Tira is absolutely beautiful! She certainly is a gem!

Honest khumalo

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

God is amazing


Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Amazing job whoever caught this on video! Awesome to see the buffalo 🦬 scare the lion🦁pride away from the poor baby elephant 🐘!I wonder where the mother elephant was! They're usually VERY PROTECTIVE OF THEIR BABIES! 💯☝️🐘🦁🦬💕🌟

Raymond Chumakori Lotukei

Monday 13th of November 2023

Nature is incredible for species the beauty of East Africa


Monday 13th of November 2023

If this dud-gene camouflage works then it will likely mean good breeding success, so it will become more commonplace and widespread. That's evolution for you.


Tuesday 14th of November 2023

@Josh, the opposite will actually happen in the wild. As soon as a zebra is distinguishable from the others, it gets easily targeted by predators. So no, not evolution.

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