Consider this the next time you hit the zoo: Looks are everything. There are evolutionary reasons for genetic differences in nature, causing some animals to look as exotic as they do. Take the zebra, for example. Aside from “coolest outfit” in the kingdom, our striped friend wears his coat as a way to camouflage himself in the wild. Predatory animals in the jungle can only see in black and white, so the black-and-white zigzags make it nearly impossible to spot him in the tall grass. They also blend in with heat waves coming off the ground, which look black and white against the sand. So sure, a leopard can’t change his spots—but maybe he shouldn’t want to anyway.

QUIZ: Are You Satisfied With Your Appearance?