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Animals with Extra Stripes

This article is focused on usual animals with stripes. The subjects covered will include:

  • Cryptid cats
  • King cheetahs
  • Double-striped tigers
  • Striped lions
  • Brindle and leopard genetics in various animal species
  • Brindle and leopard-complex horses
  • Mutant mice
  • Even including humans!

Cats: Cryptid

There are reports of mysterious large striped cats from many location, unlike any known local wildlife. One prominent example is the Australian "Queensland Tiger" (a.k.a. Yarri or Thylacine--see video below).

Other alleged striped cryptid cats include the Mngwa (Tanzania) and Maltese tiger (China). The Maltese Tiger being a blue or grey tiger with black stripes.

Cheetah: King

Cheetahs with stripes are referred to as "king cheetahs" (shown right). They were once consider a separate species but now recognized as a color morph within the same species caused by a recessive gene. First sighted in 1926, king cheetah striping is a recessive allele. Thus it must be inherited from both parents to be expressed in the offspring, and remains infrequent in most populations. Several king cheetahs are known to live at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Preserve.

Tigers: Double-Striped

While most tigers have stripes, some have more than others. In 'double-striped' tigers most of the stripes divide into two strands. This condition is so rare that no real photographs of specimens exist, only illustrations and conceptual (manipulated) photographs.

Tiger: Melanistic

Tigers also sometimes show extra-wide stripes as a result of melanism. In 2010 a melanistic mother and two cubs were reported in the Similipal National Park in India. They are also known as "black tigers" but they have wider and darker stripes rather than being black all over.

Lions--Persistence of Juvenile Striping

Lions cubs have juveniles spots that can merge together into stripes. In very rare cases these may persist into adulthood.

Striping From Rare Genotypes:


Wood frogs such as Rana sylvatica have a striped mutation controlled by a dominant gene. It ranges from 0-32% of the population depending on region. It is unclear why the striped frog is more common in some areas, it has been speculated that it might provide a camouflage advantage in open areas or specific types of habitat.

Brindle Cattle

Brindle coats are shown by some cattle, for example Normande, Highland and Icelandic cattle, and Texas longhorns. (Other examples of unknown breed are shown here and here.) Other cattle breeds have a single white stripe around their middle, and are referred to as "belted".

Horse: Brindle and Archaic Breeds

Ancestral horse species may have had stripes., and in some ancient breeds such as a Sorraia, stripes may sometimes occur on the legs. Striping often appears in the coats or foals but disappears as they grow.

Some coat patterns can also produce distinct striped markings in rare cases. One of these is the brindle pattern such as shown by the horse shown right. Brindle patterns can form in various color combinations such as: black on white. But to be referred to as brindling one of the colors involved must be black.

If the pattern is made up of white hair it is referred to as 'roan striping'. These stripes may appear over the ribs or around the base of the tail in a pattern of black and white called 'skunk tail'.

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The archaic pattern of a grey-brown body with stripes on the legs is seen in more domesticated breeds with dun coloring and is sometimes called 'dun factor striping' (or atavistic/primitive marking) on the legs, back ad/or neck. This striping may be more distinct in the foal and fade with maturity. Dun coloring is becoming less common in horses as owners tend to favor the brighter coat colors that are uniform over the body of the horse.

Horse: Leopard Complex

In horses the leopard complex is reponsible for a range of coat patterns, sometimes including striped hooves along with a spotted coat. This mutation is associated with vision disorders.

Some consider a striped hoof to be strong than one of a normal color, but--structural speaking--there is no real difference between the two.

Striped hooves on an Appaloosa

Striped hooves on an Appaloosa


Various mutations are known to cause a striped pattern on the coat of a mouse, including:

  • The Tigrou mutation, found only in females.
  • Mfs, a mutation of chromosome 13.
  • Pewter 3 Jackson, which is associated with severe health problems.

There is one particularly unusual hybrid mouse which has wavy dark lines over its skin. These lines actually move over the mouses skin over time and are referred to as "traveling waves".

Sheep: Transverse Stripes

The genetic basis for striping in sheep is not known and it s not a trait with any economic value. However a sponataneous mutant striped sheep arose in Canberra Australia in 1982 and was used to develop a herd with this trait.

Striped People

Humans can possess striped skin due to normal Blaschko's lines being revealed by a range of conditions such as mosaicism or keritosis. These lines are laid down as cells migrate s the body of a fetus is created in the womb, but on most people they remain invisible.



The striped pelt shown right turned out to be a domestic dogs, painted to look (somewhat) like a tiger. And there has been a fad in China of selling dyed striped puppies, called Wuxi puppies and sometimes represented by traders as belonging to a rare striped breed of dog.



  • Heran, I. (1976). Animal coloration. The nature and purpose of colours in vertebrates. London, UK: Hamlyn.
  • Lusis, J. A. (1943). Striping patterns in domestic horses. Genetica, 23(1), 31-62.
  • Van Aarde, R. J., & Dyk, A. V. (1986). Inheritance of the king coat colour pattern in cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus. Journal of Zoology, 209(4), 573-578.


Chip from Cold Mountain on July 10, 2010:

I'm a zebra! LOL

(read my profile)

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