Can You Guess the Animal From Just Their Stripes or Spots?

By: Khadija Leon
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

We know that animals like giraffes, leopards, zebras and tigers have stripes or spots, but are you able to identify the not-so-common ones? Take this quiz to test your knowledge!

This large cat weighs up to 363 kilograms and is best known for its striking vertical black and orange stripes. which are an evolutionary advantage that allows the creature to blend in the shadows and vegetation.

Like tigers, the zebra’s stripes serve as an evolutionary advantage that help distract oncoming predators. While in motion, the black and white diagonal pattern on the animal’s body creates an optical illusion, which confuses predators and makes it hard to keep track of the animal’s speed and movement.

Named after the Adélie Land, this penguin is commonly found along the entire coast of Antarctica. They aren’t necessarily striped or spotted, but have a small ring of white fur around their eyes. From its head to its tail, is a plumage of black feathers, and its front is covered in white.

The spotted bush snake is a part of the non-venomous colubrid snake species and is found only in Africa. These common and harmless creatures are covered in bright green skin with black spots, which allows them to camouflage very well in the trees of bushes and forest areas, where they are frequently found.

Though the bumblebee’s appearance varies from species to species, their physical characteristics include typically stout bodies with bright yellow fur patterned with black stripes (or none). The contrasting pattern on the insect’s body serves as a warning to airborne predators, which keeps both the bee and the predator safe.

This type of marlin found near the surface of the warm to cool waters of the Indo-Pacific oceans. Weighing up to 230 kilograms, these creatures’ bodies are lined with fourteen to twenty vertical cobalt blue stripes which, depending on their mood, will change color.

The okapi, which is indigenous to the northeast area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, resembles a zebra, with its distinctive horizontal white stripes and rings on its legs, white ankles, grayish white fur on its face, throat and chest, while the rest of its body is coated in brown to reddish brown fur.

Unlike other animals whose distinctive marks serve an evolutionary purpose, this isn’t the case with Dalmatians. Their black spots are a result of selective breeding, which varies from brown to black and comes in many shapes and sizes. They are born with a coat of white fur, and gradually develop their spots as they age.

The leopard is one of the five big cats and is found in Saharan Africa and Asia. The cat has a muscular build with short legs, a broad head and pale yellow to yellowish brown or golden fur with rosette-shaped spots. Like other spotted and striped animals, it is theorized that their spots are an evolutionary advantage.

These small striped rodents are native to North America, with the only exception being the Siberian chipmunk, which indigenous to Asia. Their fur varies within species, some having more tones of gray, brown, or red in their coats with contrasting dark and light stripes on their face and down their backs.

Skunks, which are mainly found in the western hemisphere, are black and white mammals which, when in danger, spray a foul-smelling liquid from their anal scent glands at their enemies which enables them to escape unharmed. Though most appear in shades of black and white, others are brown, gray or cream-colored with stripes running down their backs and on their faces.

Holstein-Friesian cattle, also referred to as Holsteins in North America, and as Friesians in the UK, are one of the world’s highest dairy producing animals which originated in Dutch provinces. They are characterized by their white skin with distinctive and well defined black patches and are able to easily adapt to seasonal weather changes.

Numbats are an indigenous and endangered Australian marsupial which is now only found in the Western region of the continent, and has been recently re-introduced to the south. It is usually covered in soft-gray to reddish-brown fur with striking horizontal white stripes across its torso and black stripes running from the base of its ears, to its and eyes and ending at the tip of its muzzle.

Coral snakes make up a large part of the elapid snake genus, of which there are two main groups – Old World coral snakes and New World coral snakes. They are very small in size and their bands appear in shades of red, yellow, white, and black which helps deter their predators.

Appaloosas are popular American-bred horses, renowned for the leopard-like spots patterned across its body. They were first bred by the Nez Perce Indian tribe in North America and were possibly named after the Palouse River where they frequented.

The spotted turtle is a semi aquatic turtle which frequents shallow fresh areas such as bogs and woodland streams, flooded forests and wet meadows of southern Canada, and the Appalachian Mountains in North America. Their smooth, broad shells are grey to black in color, which are decorated with up to one hundred yellow spots which extend to its head, neck, limbs and tail.

Indigenous to Africa, the giraffe, scientifically, is the tallest living terrestrial land animal. It is characterized by its horn-like ossicones, very long neck and legs, relatively short body and distinctive dark patches of orange, brown or chestnut laid against a white or cream coat.

Also known as the horned boxfish, this fish is easily recognized by its in distinctive yellow or olive scale-less skin, which is spotted with white or blue dots. In addition to this, it has a box-shaped body, hence the nickname, and two long bull/cow-like horns protruding from the front of its head which makes it hard to be swallowed by predators.

Spotted owls are nocturnal animals typically found in old-growth North American forests and are considered a near-threatened species due to constant destruction of its habitat. This medium-sized bird is identified by its large eyes, chestnut to dark brown plumage of feathers decorated with white spots.

Goannas are monitor lizards which are native to Australia and parts of South-East Asia. These predatory animals are identified by their typically dark skin with shades of black, brown, green and gray, with lighter stripes, spots and splotches which enables the creature to camouflage itself from prey.

This type of boxfish frequently spotted in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the South-Eastern Atlantic Ocean reefs. The yellow boxfish are solitary animals that are box-shaped, and bright yellow when young which later fades as they age. In addition to their yellow hue, their bodies are also covered in black spots.

The blue-spotted stingray frequently found in Indonesia, Japan and much of Australia. The blue-spotted fish has a flat disc-like rhomboid body of a dark green hue decorated with bright blue spots which act as a warning signal for its two venomous spines at the base of its tail.

The giant panda is an indigenous Chinese bear primarily found in the south-central parts of the country. The panda bear is patterned with luxurious black and white fur around its eyes, over its ears and around its torso. Once considered an endangered species, it is now listed as a vulnerable species due to a recent increase in populations through conservation practices.

The indigenous Brazilian tapir, also known as the South American tapir or the lowland tapir, is one of the five species which make up the tapir family. Newly born tapirs usually have dark brown fur decorated with white stripes and spots along their body which disappear as they age.

The badger is an omnivorous animal with a long weasel-like head with small ears and a short, wide body paired with short legs perfectly designed for digging, and a short or long tail depending on the species. Their coats are usually gray with distinctive white stripes on the head which serve as a warning for predators and to attract potential mates.

Quolls are carnivorous marsupials indigenous to the Australian mainland, Tasmania and New Guinea. These solitary nocturnal creatures spend most of the day sleeping in their den, and at night hunt for small mammals, insects, lizards and small birds. The color of the coats varies between species, with small white spots or splotches on their round bodies.

The spotted eagle rays are cartilaginous fish generally found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. They are easily identified by their flat, disk-shaped dark-blue backs with spots or rings, flat duck-like snouts, white underbelly and long whip-like tail. Generally solitary, their spots serve as a warning sign for the venomous spines found just behind the pelvic fins.

These brightly colored frogs are indigenous to Central and South America of which there are over 170 known species. The bright hue of their skin serves as a warning sign for their high levels of toxicity which is derived from their diet of ants, termites and mites.

The killer whale, commonly known as the orca, is a toothed whale which can weigh up to 6 tons. These robust carnivores which hunt in groups, have a very distinct appearance; black skin with a white chest, side and white patches above and behind its eye.

These critically endangered primates, like all other lemurs, are endemic to the island of Madagascar. Two species of ruffed lemur exist; the black and white ruffed lemur, and the red ruffed lemur. The black and white ruffed lemurs' fur is white on their sides, back hind limbs and quarters while the rest of the animal is black.

This nonvenomous snake is a small sub-species of the common king snake and is endemic to the western part of the United States and northern Mexico. They come in a variety of colors such as white with yellow stripes, or brown with white or cream stripes. These snakes are extremely calm, which makes them very popular household pets.

Some caterpillars come in a variety of stripes and or spots; such as the old-world swallowtail which bears a white body with black stripes and orange spots, or the monarch butterfly caterpillar which has a striking yellow, black and white stripe pattern. They are mostly herbivorous, but some have insectivorous and cannibalistic tendencies.

Paper kites, formally are poisonous butterflies originating in Southeast Asia, but are frequently spotted in northern Australia and southern Taiwan. Their distinctive wings are decorated with a black and white pattern on the front and back with black spots, while the inner corners of their front wings bear an orange tint.

The razorbill is a colonial seabird covered in a plumage of black feathers from its head to its tail while its underbelly is covered in white feathers. Their diet consists of schooling fish such and herrings, sand lance, sprats and occasionally crustaceans. They do this by using their wings to propel themselves into the water and dive as deep as 120 meters below the surface.

The red starfish is the common name applied to many starfish including the Indian. They vary in shape, size and shades of red; the Indian starfish is small with black tips on four of its arms, the black-spotted starfish varies from bright red to dark with small black spots, while the Mediterranean red sea star has slender arms and is of a lighter hue with small black spots.

Ladybugs, ladybirds or lady beetles are members of the Coccinellidae family which compromises of small beetles. They have a dome-like shaped body with brightly colored wings ranging from red, orange or yellow with up to seven black spots, and black heads, antennae and legs.

Also known as the original fowl or the pet speckled hen, these birds are native to Africa. They are phylogenetically similar to the peacock and the New World quail and physically resemble partridges. Their bodies, excluding their heads and feet, are covered in a plumage of dark-gray or blackish feathers with decorated with distinctive white spots.

Considered one of the most intelligent creatures in the world due to its ability to recognize itself in the mirror, magpies are frequently seen in Europe, Asia, North America, Tibet, India and Pakistan. This bird bears a simple appearance with black feathers covering its head, part of its chest, its wings and long tail while the rest of its chest and around its wings are covered with white feathers.

The lionfish are venomous marine fish which are well known for their ornamental red and white appearance, which serves as a warning to several predatory fish. Indigenous to the Indo-Pacific region, these fishes have recently invaded the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean, drastically affecting the ecosystems in these areas.

Jaguars are indigenous to the Americas, frequently seen in parts of the United States, Mexico, Central America, Paraguay and Northern Argentina. The most common type bears a striking resemblance to leopards; a tawny yellow base coat decorated with brown to black rosettes, while the near-black melanistic type has less visible spots and makes up about 6% of the jaguar population.

Hyenas are carnivorous mammals that are genetically similar to felines. Behaviorally, they are closer to canines, given that they catch their prey with their teeth rather than their claws. The brown hyena has a more dog-like appearance, shaggy fur with dark brown stripes on its legs, while the aardwolf and the striped hyena both possess a light brown coat with dark stripes on their body.

Frequently mistaken for the venomous copperhead snake, corn snakes are non-venomous and harmless snakes found in parts North America. They grow up to 61 – 182 centimeters and are easily identified by their bright colors; orange to copper with darker ringed spots.

The lined surgeon fish has a blue body lined in black with bright yellow and blue stripes, with a yellow stripe at the top of its head and a grayish belly which indicates its venomous nature. It is frequently found in the Indian Ocean near East Africa, the western Pacific Ocean near the Great Barrier Reef, to Japan, Polynesia and Hawaii.

The ocelot is a wild cat indigenous to Central and South America, the United States and Mexico. These nocturnal felines are proportionally similar to bobcats and weigh between 8 – 16 kilograms. Its coat is a combination of cream, yellow, reddish gray and gray decorated with solid black stripes, band and spots all over its body excluding its underbelly and neck.

Native to Africa, the bongo antelope is a forest ungulate, and the largest of the African forest antelope species. Their distinct reddish-brown coat is marked with yellowish-white stripes along its torso, and white-yellow splotches/bands on its face, necks and legs. Adding to its already unique appearance are two slightly spiraled horns which are present in both sexes.

The four-stripe damselfish is a popular aquarium pet indigenous to the western Pacific Ocean and is a member of the Pomacentridae family. It has many nicknames which indicate that it has white-scaled pattern with four horizontal black stripes across its body.

The ocellaris clownfish, also known as the common clownfish, is found in the Eastern Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean, Northern Australia and Southeast Asia and Japan. They are easily identified by their striking orange to reddish brown appearance with three vertical white stripes on their torso and head with black outlines on their fins, tails and stripes.

The Amazon milk frog, also known as the golden-eyed tree frog or the blue milk frog, is a large type of arboreal frog indigenous to the South American Amazon Rainforest. These fairly large frogs are of a light gray hue, with brown or back bands with white and brown spots all over its body. When stressed, these animals secrete a milky fluid, which alludes to its many nicknames.

The Asian tiger mosquito, or the forest mosquito, is indigenous to Southeast Asia with distinctive black and white stripes on its legs and body. It is responsible for the transmission of many viruses such as dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and is considered a potential vector of the Zika virus.

The zebrafish, native to the Himalayan region, is freshwater tropical fish which is used in many scientific experiments due to its regenerative abilities. Growing up 6.4 centimeters in length, the zebrafish’s body is decorated with five horizontal blue stripes with gold stripes in-between on the males, and silver instead of gold on the females.

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