Decorating Children's Room With Zebra Prints
Being gregarious, zebras make the impression of happy and communicative animals. Their simple yet at the same time complex coloring - basic black and white distributed in elaborate patterns - appeals to children's aesthetic sense. The colors are very symbolic: we often talk about the dangers of dividing the world and our lives according to black and white standards - but overlook the benefits of such simplicity (at least for the zebras). After all, they survive in harsh conditions in one of the hottest continents on this planet. Maybe they are trying to tell us that sometimes it's good to be very definite and clear about things.
As a kid I couldn't figure zebras out. Why do they have a special name of their own? They just seemed as striped horses to me. Later I discovered that the stripes carry the purpose of saving the animals' skins, literally. It turns out that the black and white patterns confuse the large cats, who are zebras' main enemies; when a lion approaches a herd, it cannot distinguish a single zebra, which makes it very difficult to focus on a target. It's interesting, however, that the coloring is effective only when all the animals are together - which may teach the kids about the necessity of helping each other and sticking together in dangerous times.
The Same and Unique
Another thing I learned about the zebras is that each animal's color pattern is unique, and that it helps the newborn to recognize their mothers. When a calf is born, it approaches mama zebra and sticks its head into its underbelly, learning how the stripes cover the skin. They have a special talent for memorizing those patterns: having learned it, a baby zebra will find its mother among thousands of other zebras! All zebras are the same, but each zebra is unique... Sounds familiar?