Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped and Checked

mother and baby zebra

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

Isak Dinesen

For this week’s challenge “striped or checked” I decided to keep it simple and focus on a single subject – the beautiful zebras of Botswana. Surely there is no more iconic subject when it comes to stripes! All of my images this week were captured in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, home to the Plains Zebra – including the Burchell variety which is the only type found there.


“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”

Paul Oxton

Named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2014, the Okavango Delta is so large it can be seen from outer space. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean. Because it floods seasonally, the delta’s plants and animals have adapted their lifecycles to its annual rain cycle. During migration, up to 25,000 zebras can be found in Botswana. The image above shows a zebra and a wildebeest (both striped 😊) grazing comfortably side by side. While we did not see intermingling between species, we found most of the grazing creatures peacefully co-existing.

Burchell's Zebra

“Scientists think they can now clone an all-white zebra. Now, I’m no expert, but isn’t that a horse?

Jay Leno

The three types of zebra are very difficult to distinguish. The Plains zebra (including the Burchell) is noted for its faint tan line within its white stripes. The Grevy’s zebra is the largest species, and the Mountain zebra prefers to live in high altitude areas. All three varieties have that perfectly-shaped black and white mane that looks as if it has just come from the hairdresser 🙂. While generally placid, the kick of a zebra can break a lion’s jaw, and males are known to eat the foals of other males to reinforce their dominance within the herd.

Burchell's Zebra

“I asked the zebra, are you black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?”

Shel Silverstein

Zebras, horses and donkeys are the only members of the Equus genus of mammals. A male zebra and a female horse can mate, creating offspring called a zorse. Much more rare, a female zebra and a stallion can mate and give birth to a hebra. Interestingly, although very difficult for humans to recognize, each zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes, much like our own fingerprints. Scientists believe the stripes help hide the zebra from predators as they resemble the dappled sunlight through African trees, or that they form a bit of a thermometer assist – dark stripes attracting the sun on cool mornings and white reflecting it to cool them in mid-day heat.

dazzle of Zebras

“The herd may graze where it pleases, but he who lives the adventurous life will remain unafraid when he finds himself alone.”

Raymond B. Fosdick

A group of zebras is called a dazzle or, less interestingly, a herd. We found them to be curious creatures, but in an interesting way. Typically we’d come across a dozen or more in a group, but only one would turn to see us, typically the last in line. Do you suppose they have an appointed guard or lookout assigned to check out potential threats?

zebra close-up

“Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken.”

Ernest Gaines

I have amazing memories of our African safari, including the beautiful creatures with which one is surrounded. While in the midst of it however, there is much to see and absorb, such that little facts tend to be forgotten. Many of those in today’s post were discussed during our safari but had long been forgotten until I searched them online.

Parents and zebra foal

“Travel , photography and wilderness are my addictions….And I’m happy with that…”

Kedar Dhepe

I had a hard time narrowing down the number of images for this week as you may have noticed. Hopefully you’re still with me as I thank you for your creative and interesting responses to last week’s Emotions challenge. We appreciate your using the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you, and ask you this week to include a link to Ann-Christine’s post here. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses. Finally, we hope to see you again next week when Amy hosts our next challenge. Until then, stay safe and have a wonderful week.

128 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped and Checked

  1. Pingback: What is Striped? What Checked? – HorseAddict

  2. What a visual treat, Tina! These images are marvelous. I’ve never seen a close up of their manes and didn’t know they were striped too! Gorgeous. Too bad that we can’t have hair like that! Your facts about zebras were all great info: the types, the name for the herd, etc. All in all, a great post–both the images and details. You knocked this one out of the park!

  3. My first thoughts when I saw the challenge was zebras. I wonder how many others went down that road.
    Spoiler Alert: no zebras in Florida unless you go to a zoo. LOL I haven’t been to our local zoo yet.
    I think that’s a bucket list day trip when we’re released to travel.
    LOVE … LOVE … LOVE … the photographs. I knew the history of them but seeing the various markings
    on this is mesmerizing. No pun intended. The face on the zebra in “SNACKTIME’ is priceless.
    Be Safe … 😷 🙏🏻 😊 Isadora 😎

    • Thanks Izzy, it’s truly a gift to see them, as well as all of their fellow creatures, in their natural world. So glad you enjoyed this one. And BTW, you may not have zebras but rumor has it you have cougars which would be amazing to see!

      • There’s been a bit of too much construction in my – once little hidden paradise – that is causing our wildlife, such as cougars, ocelots, raccoons and gopher turtles to scatter. It’s breaking my heart to see. I’ll have to keep my camera ready in the event I see one of them. Fun challenge this week. It opened our eyes to see what’s stripped and checked. Have a GREAT week …

      • We have the same problem here Izzy. Our latest issue is that the pesticides people are using to keep the marsh rats away are killing our iconic bobcats – the top predators on our island. They eat the rats that have been poisoned and they too die. We’re trying to ban the pesticides but it’s a long, uphill battle.

  4. Wonderful! You can never have too many zebra photos 😀 And I loved your quotes interspersed with the interesting facts.

    Actually, I nearly went with zebras myself this week, and from Botswana too. But we didn’t see many in the Okavango, so my shots would have been from Chobe where there were loads!

    • Thanks Sarah, agree wholeheartedly 😊. Amazed you didn’t see many zebras in Okavango – must have been a different time of year. They were everywhere while we were there. haven’t been to Chobe – I’d love to think we’d go back to Africa one day.

  5. Pingback: Encounter with a Tiger – Don't hold your breath

  6. Tina, I love your zebra shots! They are amazing animals and it looks like they enjoy having their picture taken. I especially like Dazzling Dazzle, with the last one in line turning to tell you goodbye. 😀

    • High praise from a wonderful horse-woman like you Anne. Their stubby legs and rounded bellies make them look much less graceful than a horse but perhaps a bit more “cute” ??

      • Interestingly enough zebras cannot be trained. In the 19th Century it as a fashion to try to train them as carriage horses but they were not reliable enough. And they will not accept training to be ridden. I saw lots of them in Kenya many years ago. and admired them

  7. What an interesting term for the groupings.. “ a dazzle.” I have always been dazzled by their incredible markings, symmetrical brilliant designs…A busy brilliant project for God’s paintbrush!

  8. Pingback: Lens-artists Photo Challenge #132-Striped and Checked – Calling-all-RushBabes

  9. There’s a photo of a zorse in an article I found online – it’s quite beautiful. And yes, I knew about the lions and their cubs but they are a more ferocious animal so I wasn’t as surprised as I was about the zebras – and now about barn cats as well! I’d actually seen a zebra-striped navy ship here in Charleston at our naval museum but had forgotten about it until I read your comment. Interesting!

  10. Jay Leno: “Scientists think they can now clone an all-white zebra. Now, I’m no expert, but isn’t that a horse?”

    White horses are actually gray, from light (what we see as white) to dark.

    More trivia: During WW2, the British Navy took to painting their naval surface combatants and cargo ships to resemble zebra striping. They were losing considerable naval assets to the German submarine wolfpacks. Taking a page from nature, the zebra pattern made a ship more difficult to discern while looking through the periscope. It forced the U-boats to active ping on the sonar if they thought they were encountering a surface contact. Once a submarine active pings, their subsurface location and heading is revealed. It worked in the beginning until the U-boat force adjusted their tactics.

    And, more trivia: “males are known to eat the foals of other males to reinforce their dominance within the herd.” This, unfortunately, is part of nature. The dominant male lion would kill cubs of a lioness, in order to show pecking order to other male lions in the pride. More often, it is so he can mate with the lioness who had cubs. That’s why a lioness, if she sees a male lion, dominant and lesser, walk close to any of her cubs, she stands ready to defend them. And, usually another lioness, likely a relative, will stand with her. You also see this behavior among unfixed barn cats.

    Now you know, LOL. 😉 🙂

  11. They have a knowing kind of look, Tina. I’m sure they had you sussed as a good guy 🙂 🙂 But I wouldn’t want to get the wrong side of them and that baby! Fabulous photos, hon!

  12. Tina–you have been places I will never go and have seen things I will never see, so please never narrow your photos down! I so look forward to see where we are going each weekend. These photos were wonderful, might I even say, dazzling! 😉

    • Aw, you definitely made my day today Lois. I have a very specific memory from some 25+ years ago when we received an A&K safari brochure in the mail. I distinctly remember thinking that would be an amazing experience but something I’d never be able to do. Many years later when we finally did go it was everything I’d imagined it would be and more. They say it is life-changing and I totally agree. So glad you enjoyed this one.

  13. Lens-Artists Challenge #312 – Striped and Checked. Excellent

    On Sunday, January 24, 2021, Travels and Trifles wrote:

    > Tina Schell posted: ” TWO GENERATIONS “You know you are truly alive when > you’re living among lions.”Isak Dinesen For this week’s challenge “striped > or checked” I decided to keep it simple and focus on a single subject – the > beautiful zebras of Botswana. Surely there is ” >

  14. OMG the stiped mane. I’d never noticed – last time I got that close to one! And how did you find this adorable quote from Shel Silverstein? “I asked the zebra, are you black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?” You made my day. Simple dazzling – all of them. Thanks for the lesson. I read every word, and unfortunately, I’ll forget most of them. Dang this brain!

  15. I didn’t realize that zebras have perfect crewcuts (or are they mohawks?) I’ll leave that determination to others. Seriously, great photos depicting stripes. Only recently I heard of the Okavango Delta when I saw a documentary on a streaming TV channel.

  16. Gorgeous creatures and gorgeous images, Tina! Who doesn’t love Zebras? I hoped you would post on them – and you did! Thank you. I did not know about the different mating possibilities and the names of the offspring – interesting. I would have loved to see one of those too. I noticed the difference in stripes on their tails – never did that before. I hope you have framed some zebra images for your wall – I most certainly would have…they are iconic in their beauty.

    • Thanks Ann-Christine. Oddly I’d sent a response to you earlier but somehow it’s disappeared. Just curious if you ever saw it. As for the zebras, who indeed doesn’t love them! Interestingly the stripes on the tails was something I hadn’t noticed either before seeing the images . Iconic for sure!

      • I don’t think I have seen any earlier response? I’ll have to take a look again. Thank you, Tina – let’s see if I can find it.

  17. Thanks Tina .These are showstoppers. Love the Mama and Dad with their child. Didn’t see the striped wildebeest when we were in Botswana.. I will check through my saved photos and take part in this.

  18. First, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed seeing these gorgeous striped creatures through your lens. Excellent! But two other things caught my attention: the word “dazzle” for a herd of zebras and the quote by Shel Silverstein. You do have a way of putting things together. So interesting.

  19. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #312 – Striped and Checked – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

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