Retired mechanical engineer Robert Holmwood captured the gaggle of Burchell’s zebra at the Kruger National Park in his native South Africa during one of the worst droughts in living memory.
And the 64-year-old, who retired two years ago, said everyone who views the confusing image has a different opinion on just how many zebras there are in the frame.
Robert said: “Zebras are gregarious by nature and normally move in herds.
“It was the coincidental positioning of the herd individuals that created the striped illusion and confusion as to the exact numbers present.”
Robert said there are actually only four zebras in the photo.
He added: “I was both amused and amazed at the reaction to my photograph.
“I was amused at how many people posted guesses as to how many animals are depicted in the photograph. The guesses varied between four and seven.
“By sharing the photograph I intended to stimulate some thought on the reason for zebra’s stripes – specifically the theory it confuses predators when they are in the herd.
“Images bring humour to the general public and the guesses on the number of zebras in this photograph were many and varied – even from humans with colour vision. Predators evidently see less colour than humans.
“Excluding the numerous guesses at how many zebras are depicted, there were other interesting comments. One retort to the question ‘how many zebras do you see?’ was ‘all of them’.”
Robert: “This image was taken early in the morning.
“In the wild, early morning is the best time as game is more active and the natural sunlight is the best for good images. We not only stop to observe predators, but all game, to observe their interesting behaviour.
“With feeding herds, they are always on the move and unpredictable in their movements. You need to make the most of the opportunity when it presents itself.
“I enjoy both photography and nature. Being retired, we can spend time in game parks and fulfil the passion for photographing and observing animals in their natural wild state.
“Taking a good photograph gives me a sense of satisfaction and I find wildlife photography very rewarding in a personal sense.”