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

06 October 2019 - 12:00 By staff reporter
This spotty zebra foal owes its name - Tira - to the guide who spotted it in Kenya's Maasai Mara Reserve.
This spotty zebra foal owes its name - Tira - to the guide who spotted it in Kenya's Maasai Mara Reserve.
Image: Frank Liu/@frankliuphotography

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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🦓 Tira - The Odd One @natgeo @natgeowild @natgeoyourshot

A post shared by Frank Liu (@frankliuphotography) on

See more of Frank Liu's wildlife photography on Instagram: @frankliuphotography


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