More than a million species of animals are known today. Most of these camouflage themselves for various reasons. Camouflaging is changing their appearance as something uninteresting for their predators. They do this either to avoid being eaten or to find their prey without being noticed by them. They blend with the environment so well that they often go unnoticed. With the word camouflage we always associate chameleons which can be commonly seen in the gardens. But there are many other creatures too.
Different kinds of animals camouflage in different ways. For example, animals coated with fur like the Arctic fox changes color of their coat according to different seasons. The fox is dark in summer and white in winter to match the color of snow. An arctic hare’s winter coat is white but a molt during spring results in grey-black coat. A stoat or an ermine that belongs to the weasel family has a brown and white summer coat and white winter coat with a black tip to its tail.
Animals living in rainforests also enjoy camouflaging. In order to avoid getting eaten, most of the frog and toad species use camouflage in order to appear like dead leaf so that they go unnoticed while sitting in a bed of rotting leaves. Not just their appearance, behavior is also important too. When danger threatens they lie as a ‘dead leaf’ among genuine dead leaves until they make sure that they are out of danger.
There are also insects like the Indian leaf bug that has an exact imitation of a real leaf. Not only on the land but also under the sea dwell some ‘quick change’ artists. Flounders are bottom dwelling flat fish that has an unbelievable ability to match the color and pattern of their background. So are the leaffish, octopuses, squids, shrimps and crabs that can vary the amount of pigments on the skin in order to produce a recognizable imitation of their background.
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