- Published: 03 February 2010
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John Curtis Milk, age 10, of Richmond, Va., or is question;
Why is a tiger striped?
Mr. Tiger lives in the hot jungles of Asia. The canes and the grasses grow tall and slender and for most of the year they are scorched yellow and brown. The bright sun casts deep shadows among these grasses and paints them with dark and light stripes of sunshine and shade. At night the moonlight paints the jungle grasses with dark and light stripes. Mr. Tiger prowls through this striped world in search of his dinner,
Naturally, the deer and small jungle animals do not want to be eaten by the tiger. They keep a sharp lookout and scoot away when they see him coming‑.
If Mr. Tiger were painted red like a fire truck, his prey would see him coming from afar and he would never get close enough to catch a dinner, He must be able to sneak up on the animals he wishes to catch.
He learns to pad softly on his big paws. And he learns to stay hidden until the very last minute. This is where his coat helps him. It is patterned like the stripes of sunshine and shadow that filter through the jungle grasses. Mr. Tiger has a striped coat so that no one will notice him creeping along through his striped background.