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The Real Masters Of Disguise: Learn About Why And How These Animals Camouflage

It’s wild that some animals can blend with their backgrounds so perfectly that you won’t notice their presence. From the giant leaf-tailed geckos that lie flat against logs to the decorator crabs that camouflage with seaweed and sea sponges, different animals disguise themselves for different reasons. While some animals camouflage to hunt for food, others do it to protect themselves. These are five of the most amazing masters of disguise.


Owls have feathers that look like the trees in their habitat, which helps to camouflage them. Often called ‘ears’ or ‘horns,’ these tufts of feathers look like twigs. When owls raise their feathers, it effectively helps them hide. 

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Owls also change their shape to hide more effectively, which is called ‘concealment posture.’ They can squat or lift themselves to be taller and skinnier to appear less recognizably owl-like. They can also sway in the wind to mimic the tree branches. 

Wrap-around spiders

The wrap-around spider, native to Australia, has a concave belly that allows it to flatten itself around the curve of a tree. Its belly also lets it avoid being spotted by hungry birds. Oval discs run across its abdomen, making it the perfect camouflage against branches. 

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During the day, the wrap-around spider will sit and hug a tree undisturbed. However, once the sun goes down, it quickly constructs an orb-shaped web and eats the prey. At dawn, it destroys its web and returns to its disguise.

Giant leaf-tailed geckos

During the day, the grey-green fringed flaps on their lower jaws and sides flatten against the surface of tree logs, trunks, and leaf litter. This hides their outline, increases their surface area, and refracts light, making them practically invisible to a predator’s eye. 

Courtesy: Pinterest

They also rest with their heads facing downward to increase their camouflage. Their skin is mottled, with colors that are natural and almost unnoticeable, like tans, greens, grays, and browns. They are not only masters of disguise but are also able to mimic a human-like scream.

Sidewinder rattlesnake

These rattlesnakes are native to Mexican deserts. As well as having a sandy brown body with elliptical markings, which render it invisible against the rocks and ruins of the desert floor, it also shakes itself into the sand to be partially covered.

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The raised scales above their eyes protect their eyes from the sand as they lay in wait for their victims. Small rodents come near, and the rattlesnakes strike by injecting the mouse or rat with venom, then following the victim until it dies.

Decorator crabs

As the name implies, decorator crabs dress with seaweed, coral, and sponges to spruce up their surroundings. These crabs are usually more difficult to see against their background of sea debris. Their velcro-like shell covering makes their decoration stick.

Courtesy: Pinterest

Their cover makes it almost impossible to sight them. Some of them deliberately adorn themselves with toxic seaweed or stinging anemones. While these dangerous ‘ornaments’ don’t affect the crabs, the toxic substances will make an unpleasant mouthful for anything that tries to eat them.

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