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Humans look different from each other and even have different personalities. We also have something else that is unique to each individual and is used for identification purposes—our fingerprints. Similarly, animals also have unique prints that are used to differentiate one individual from the other.

If you look at a dog’s nose closely, you will notice that it is thick and textured. Made up of three layers of skin, the outermost layer has grooves which give it its textured appearance. This texture is unique to each dog, just like our fingerprints. Hence, a dog can be identified by its nose print.

Animals like tigers and zebras, on the other hand, are identified by the unique pattern of their stripes. No two tigers or zebras have the same pattern of stripes.

Such identification methods help biologists and conservationists to count and keep track of an animal’s age, health, family and movement in the wild.

Box: Whale sharks have dots on their skin that look like stars. These are unique to every whale shark. Biologists identify them by studying these patterns on the body of the whale shark.