Camouflaged Animals

In this list, we will show you the animals that received nature’s greatest gift. They can blend into their native environment so well that they are almost impossible to spot! And there is a good reason why each of these animals wants to stay unnoticed.

Common Chameleon
Common Chameleon
Meet real champions of camouflage. Chameleons come in a wide range of colors and many species have the ability to change color. They can vary their coloration and pattern through combinations of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple. Color change in chameleons has functions in camouflage, but most commonly in social signaling and in reactions to temperature and other conditions. Chameleons tend ...
to show brighter colors when displaying aggression to other chameleons, and darker colors when they submit or "give up". Their colors are also important for intraspecies communication, especially during the mating season.
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Common Chameleon
Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth
One of the best examples of cryptic plumage and mimicry in Australian birds is seen in Tawny frogmouths. These birds perch low on tree branches during the day camouflaged as part of the tree. Their silvery-grey plumage patterned with white, black, and brown streaks and mottles allows them to freeze into the form of a broken tree branch and become practically invisible in broad daylight. Tawny frogmouths often choose a broken part of a tree ...
branch and perch upon it with their heads thrust upwards at an acute angle using their very large, broad beaks to emphasize the resemblance. Often, a pair sits together and points their heads upwards, only breaking cover if approached closely to take flight or warn off predators. When threatened, adult Tawny frogmouths make an alarm call that signals chicks to remain silent and immobile, hoping that the natural camouflage provided by the plumage will help them to stay unnoticed.
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Tawny Frogmouth
Saharan Horned Viper
Saharan Horned Viper
This venomous horned viper that lives in the deserts of northern Africa and parts of Western Asia probably is the luckiest. This snake uses its camouflage both to ambush prey and to hide from predators. Its coloration almost always matches the substrate color where the snake is found. Saharan horned viper typically lays submerged in sand adjacent to rocks or under vegetation and is almost impossible to spot. When approached, it will strike very ...
rapidly, and hold on to the captured prey until the venom takes effect.
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Saharan Horned Viper
Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
Nightjars are nocturnal birds that can be found all around the world, with the exception of Antarctica. They are sometimes called goatsuckers, due to the ancient folk tale that they sucked the milk from goats, or bugeaters, their primary source of food being insects. These birds usually nest on the ground and like to rest and roost on roads. The color of their plumage and their unusual perching habits help conceal them during the day. When ...
nightjars feel threatened, they will flatten themselves to the ground with eyes almost closed and will fly only when the intruder is 2-5 m (7-16 ft) away.
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Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
Tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest living cat species and is among the most recognizable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. The coloration of these powerful predators varies between shades of orange and brown with white ventral areas and distinctive vertical black stripes; the patterns of which are unique in each individual. These stripes often help tigers to be less visible in vegetation while hunting. The orange color of their fur may ...
also aid in camouflage as the tiger's prey are dichromats, and thus may perceive the cat as green and blended in with the vegetation.
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Tiger
Long-Eared Owl
Long-Eared Owl
Other masters of camouflage are owls. The Long-eared owl is one of the most widely distributed and most numerous owl species in the world. The coloration of its feathers is generally cryptic and helps it stay almost invisible under certain conditions. Long-eared owls usually roost in the depths of the "darkest stands of trees" in order to conceal their presence. If approached, the owl will freeze with its body stiffly upright, eyes closed to ...
narrow slits and ear tufts erect. This is called the “tall-thin position”. However, if approached closed, the owl will alternately open and close its eyes trying to fool potential predators into thinking the owl is still at rest. Then the owl will lower its ear tufts, fluff its body plumage and fly to another roost.
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Long-Eared Owl
Common Snipe
Common Snipe
These well-camouflaged birds are usually shy and hide close to ground vegetation; when scared or when approached closely, they flush and utter a sharp note that sounds like 'scape, scape' and fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags to confuse predators. Common snipes also nest on the ground. They choose a well-hidden location and their camouflage helps them remain unnoticed.
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Common Snipe
Arctic Hare
Arctic Hare
Arctic hares look like rabbits but have shorter ears, are taller when standing, and, unlike rabbits, can thrive in extreme cold. In some areas of their native range Arctic hares change their coat color, molting and growing new fur, from brown or grey in the summer to white in the winter. This seasonal molting helps them remain camouflaged as the environment changes. Arctic hares usually dig holes in the ground or under the snow to keep warm and ...
to sleep; they also often rest in the shelter of large rocks protecting from the wind and staying out of sight of predators.
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Arctic Hare
Rock Ptarmigan
Rock Ptarmigan
Rock ptarmigans are inhabitants of cold arctic regions with rocky mountainsides and tundra. These open areas without dense vegetation or brush don’t provide shelters where birds could hide from predators and thus their coloration is adapted to their barren habitat seasonally. In spring and summer Rock ptarmigans are generally brown in color to blend with their surroundings, especially when females are raising their young. In winter males become c ...
ompletely white which makes them almost impossible to notice on the snow and also helps avoid predation.
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Rock Ptarmigan
Sambar
Sambar
Sambar are nocturnal deer that live in forests and prefer to hide in the dense cover of deciduous shrubs and grasses. Their fur color changes with the season to provide great camouflage from predators. Sambar are dark brown in the winter and become yellowish-brown in the summer blending with the woods. They are the favorite prey of tigers and Asiatic lions. When sensing danger, a deer stamps its feet and makes a ringing call known as "pooking" ...
or "belling".
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Sambar
Long-Nosed Whip Snake
Long-Nosed Whip Snake
Vine snakes have elongated bodies, with extremely long tails and a sharply triangular-shaped head. They are primarily green in color but can vary quite a bit to yellows, oranges, greys, and browns. They move slowly among branches and rely on camouflaging themselves as vines in foliage. When disturbed they expand their bodies to show a black and white scale marking. Also, they may open their mouths in a threat display and point their heads in the ...
direction of the perceived threat. Their ability to blend with branches also helps these snakes to successfully ambush their prey.
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Long-Nosed Whip Snake
Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper
Treecreepers are small songbirds with dull-colored plumage, and as their name implies, they climb over the surface of trees in search of food. Their cryptic plumage helps the birds to stay unnoticed on the tree bark when they flatten their body and spread their wings. Only their high-pitched vocalizations may give you a hint that treecreepers are somewhere near.
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Brown Creeper
Copperhead
Copperhead
Copperheads are venomous snakes that usually hide on the forest floor among dead leaves. They often "freeze" instead of slithering away, and as a result, people unknowingly step on or near them. It is thought that the tendency of these snakes to freeze most likely evolved because of the extreme effectiveness of their camouflage. When lying on dead leaves or red clay, they can be almost impossible to notice. They frequently stay still even when ...
approached closely, and generally strike only if physical contact is made. The same tactic copperheads use when hunting; they take up a promising position and wait for suitable prey to pass by.
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Copperhead
California Ground Squirrel
California Ground Squirrel
Ground squirrels are members of the squirrel family and are especially renowned for their tendency to rise up on their hind legs, usually whenever they sense nearby danger, or when they must see over tall grasses. Some species, like California ground squirrels, are also well known for the various defense mechanisms they use to avoid predation. However, their fur coloration which contains a mixture of gray, light brown, and dusky hairs also helps ...
them to blend well with the open areas they live in and sometimes to escape from predators.
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California Ground Squirrel
Gharial
Gharial
These semiaquatic reptiles usually congregate in water habitats where they can easily conceal themselves in order to successfully hunt their prey. Crocodilians have acute senses, an evolutionary advantage that makes them efficient predators. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are located on top of the head; this allows the crocodilian to lie low in the water camouflaged with floating weed, almost totally submerged and hidden from prey. Due to their ...
coloration, these reptiles blend well with their environment and even a cruising crocodile is very difficult to spot.
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Gharial