WATCH | Spot the odd one out: polka-dotted baby zebra snapped in Kenya
This zebra foal's unique looks are the result of a rare genetic mutation
Say hello to Tira, a zebra foal recently spotted (sorry) by guide Antony Tira in Kenya's Masaai Mara Reserve and photographed by Frank Liu.
According to National Geographic, the little guy (or girl, nobody knows) has a rare genetic mutation called pseudomelanism, which presents as an abnormal stripe pattern.
Such cases are extremely rare - while similar foals have occasionally been seen in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, this is the first time such a zebra has been seen in the Maasai Mara, a place where zebras thrive.
Tira's lack of stripes may make him/her more susceptible to biting flies and will also make him/her stand out in the herd, with a higher risk of being nabbed by predators. That's how it goes for prey animals - every day is a struggle for survival. But with a little bit of luck, Tira will make it to adulthood and one day have foals of his/her own.
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Last night a Maasai guide discovered an one of a kind genetically mutated baby zebra in Maasai Mara and named it after his surname - Tira. This morning we were one of the first ones to visit Tira! Few years ago there was a similar case, however that zebra still maintained the stripes and brush-like tail. Tira, however, has patterns that appear as polka dots! ◼️⚪️ I hope the experts will look into this case and share some interesting discoveries soon! @natgeo @natgeowild @natgeoyourshot