Camouflage Animals

Camouflaging is one of the survival strategies that help animals to hunt their prey and protect themselves from potential predators.

There are four different types of camouflage that include:

  1. Cryptic coloration: It is the most familiar type of camouflage where the color of the animal’s body blends with the environment they live, e.g., chameleons, whose green bodies make them merge into their green surroundings.
  2. Disruptive coloration: In this form the contrasting patterns on the animal’s body, break their outline creating an illusory effect. This helps them merge with the environment well. E.g., jaguar, lions
  3. Self-decoration: This process is mostly used by invertebrates who adorn themselves with many things found in their habitats, like algae, leaves, and mosses, to escape their natural enemies. E.g., sea urchins and sloths.
  4. Disguise: Animals disguise themselves in their surroundings by taking the shape, texture, or color of the inanimate objects around them. E.g., a stick insect looks like a twig or stick, making it hard for its enemies to spot them on a forest floor.
Animals that Camouflage

List of Animals that Use Camouflage (Change Color)

NameClassType of CamouflageDescription
Leaf-tailed GeckoReptileCryptic Coloration and DisguiseTheir mottled brown body resembles a branch. Moreover, their tail bears a striking similarity to a leaf that helps the geckos blend into their surroundings well.
Vietnamese Mossy FrogAmphibianDisguiseTheir green body, black spots, and visible spines make them look like clumps of mosses.
ChameleonsReptileCryptic ColorationChameleons don’t change color to camouflage. They change color to regulate their body temperature and send signals to their fellow chameleons. However, this helps them blend into their surroundings well.
Mountain HareMammalCryptic ColorationThey have a grayish-brown coat in summer that replicates the brownish moorlands they mainly inhabit. In winter, their body turns white, camouflaging with the snowy terrain.
Red SquirrelMammalCryptic ColorationOne can barely spot these red squirrels when they remain perched on the barks of pine trees.
Goldenrod Crab SpiderInvertebrateCryptic ColorationThey remain hidden in flowers, changing their colors to match their habitat well.
Green Sea TurtleReptileDisruptive ColorationThese turtles follow the countershading technique where the dorsal part appears dark, and the ventral part has a lighter shade. This protects them from potential predators as their dark body blends with the ocean depths.
Great Horned OwlBirdDisruptive ColorationSpecialized feathers or tufts help them disguise themselves. The tufts help break the round face profile of these owls; thus, they seem to be a part of the barks and woods they inhabit.
Eastern Screech OwlBirdCryptic ColorationIts white, gray, or tan body blends well with the barks. This makes it difficult for predators to spot the owl when it remains hidden within the cavities of the tree.
Snowy OwlBirdCryptic ColorationTheir white feathers help them survive in the snowy landscape.
Mimic OctopusInvertebrateCryptic Coloration, Aggressive MimicryThey change their body color to match their surroundings with the help of chromotophores or color-changing cells lying under their skin’s surface. These octopuses can also mimic the shapes of the most dangerous creatures at sea as a defense mechanism.
Tawny FrogmouthBirdCryptic Coloration, DisguiseThese birds have brownish-gray feathers marked with mottled black spots and streaks. This makes them easily mistaken for tree bark.
Arctic HareMammal  Cryptic ColorationTheir coat turns white in winter, making them indistinguishable from the snow.
Alaskan HareMammalCryptic ColorationLike the Alaskan hare, their coat also transforms to white in winter, looking like a ball of snow against the snowy terrain.
PtarmigansBirdCryptic ColorationThey go through a series of molts between April and November, and their plumage change according to the ground color. In winter, they appear white; in summer, their body turns brown, while in spring, they are a mix of white and brown.
Leafy SeadragonFishCryptic Coloration, Disguise, MimicryThey have leafy appendages and can change color to match the seagrass and seaweeds. These fish even sway like plants during water currents.
Pacific Tree FrogAmphibianCryptic Coloration  These frogs change color according to humidity, temperature, and mood. In high temperatures, they appear yellow; when afraid or excited, they become pale.
Stone FlounderFishCryptic Coloration, MimesisWhen swimming close to the bottom of the sea, they can imitate the colors and textures found on the sea floor. So, they may resemble sand at one moment and rocky bottom at the next moment.
Dead Leaf ButterflyInsectMimesisWhen their wings are closed, they no longer look like a butterfly but like dry leaves having dark veins.
Leaf KatydidInsectMimesisThey mimic the shapes of branches, leaves, and barks.
Green AnoleReptileCryptic ColorationThey aren’t chameleons but change color like them from green to yellow, brown, or even gray.
Sand CrabInvertebrateCryptic ColorationIt has a gray shell that gives it a color similar to the sand it stays in.
Arctic FoxMammalCryptic ColorationDuring winter, it has a white coat that looks like a ball of snow. As the season changes, the white coat sheds, and a brown one grows, which again matches the rocky surroundings.
Stick InsectsInsectMimesisStick insects look like twigs or sticks that help them shield themselves from potential predators.
Two-tailed SpiderInvertebratesCryptic ColorationTheir brownish body blends with the color of the barks. These spiders change color in accordance with the surface they rest on.
Buff-Tip MothInsectDisguiseWhen at rest amidst broken twigs on the forest floor, identifying them is impossible.
Ghost MantisInsectCryptic Coloration, DisguiseBecause of their brown body, many can mistake them for dried-up leaves or withered branches. They even tuck their forelegs against their body and rock like leaves blown by a breeze.
Brown Vine SnakeReptileCryptic ColorationTheir grayish-brown upper side and yellow undersides help them camouflage in the foliage they inhabit.
SlothsMammalSelf-DecorationSloths are the world’s slowest mammals, and their sedentary life provides them with scope for camouflage. Their soft fur encourages algae growth. These mammals are so laid back that they don’t do much to prevent growth. Hence, they have a greenish covering on their body that helps them hide in plants.  
Snowshoe HareMammalCryptic ColorationDuring spring and summer, their coat is reddish-brown, similar to the color of the rocks and surrounding dirt. In winter, their white coat replicates the color of the snow.
StoatsMammalCryptic ColorationLike the snowshoe hare, the stoat, also has a brown summer coat and a white winter coat.
JaguarMammalDisruptive ColorationThe spots on their coat, called rosettes, help them blend with the tall grasses and tree branches.
Gaboon ViperReptileMimesisTheir broad head, and short tail looks like a fallen leaf.
Sea UrchinInvertebrateSelf-DecorationThey decorate themselves with shells, rocks, and algae to protect from predators.


Q. Which Arctic animals use camouflage?

A. Snowshoe hare, Arctic Hare, Arctic Fox

Q. Which sea animals camouflage?

A. Mimic octopus, Stone flounder, Leafy sea dragon

Q. Which animals camouflage in the rainforests?

A. Vietnamese mossy frog, Leaf katydid, Leaf-tailed gecko