Hiding in Plain Sight....How Animals Use Camouflage
Under the Sea
The decorator crab (above) looks very much like a funny little spider as it scurries across the sand underwater. These animals will pick up pieces of seaweed or a small sponge and carry it about like a hat on their heads. Although we can easily see what they are doing, many other sea dwelling animals seem to be fooled by the camouflage and they leave the little decorator crab alone.
The Sea Urchins are underwater porcupines who do not appear to need much camouflage. These animals have long spines that are very sharp. Sea Urchins like to cover themselves with rocks and shells so other animals cannot see them. Scientists think this trick might keep them safe from birds at low tide.
Parrotfish have see-through camouflage. They will hide between the cracks of a coral reef. These fish also blow a clear, rubbery bubble around themselves. This camouflage does not cover them, but many fish cannot break through the bubble to eat the parrotfish.
A sea ray will hide itself in the sand along the bottom of the water. It uses its wide fins to nestle under the sand until only two eyes can be seen. When unsuspecting sea creatures come by the ray will pop up and eat them.
Hermit crabs hide in empty shells that they find. They use these shells as they crawl about the ocean floor, and even on the beach. This is useful camouflage and is a house for the hermit crabs to use.
A Bittern (above) is a tall, thin bird that is striped with brown and white colours. When this bird stands up and stretches its neck out it looks just like a reed in the marshes where it likes to live. It will even sway just like the reeds do. Humans and other animals can be very close to a Bittern and never see it.
The crab spider uses its ability to match the colours of flowers to catch food. Tiny insects will not see the crab spider until it is too late for them to escape.
Lions are sandy coloured and this lets them blend in with the rocks and sands on the plains where they prefer to hunt.
A young fawn, like Bambi, has a brown coat with white spots that helps it stay safe in the forest. When this baby deer lies on the floor of the forest, the spots look more like little splashes of sunlight. This camouflage only works well if the fawn is lying down however.
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