It’s April Fool’s Day and in the animal kingdom many species are great at using camouflage to fool their natural predators.
The Australian Shingleback Lizard has a tail the same shape as its head to outwit predators. When a predatory bird like an Eagle or large Kookaburra, a cat or dog tries to attack these lizards they are often confused after trying to chomp down on what they thought was its head, only to be confronted by a very cranky Shingleback.
A Zebra’s stripes also help fool lions on the African plains. Although to the human eye the black and white pattern makes the zebra stick out like a sore thumb, in the animal world it acts like the design used for military camouflage. The lines on the zebra blend in with the tall lines of the grasses of their African habitat. It doesn’t matter that the zebra stripes are black and white and the grass a brownish yellow, cause the zebra’s main predator, the lion, is colour blind!
Lots of fish use patterns, just like the zebra for concealment. On their own in a fish tank for instance, their colours or patterns make them easily seen, but in a large school of fish in the oceans their colours meld together giving predators the impression of a large animal which is beyond them to attack.
A Phasmid or stick insect’s whole body is designed to confuse, fool and trick animals wanting a quick insect snack. Phasmids often go unnoticed in the forests because they look just like a twig or leaf. When it is windy, they even start swaying like a leaf blowing in the wind to improve the illusion.
It is a tough world out there in the wild and survival of the fittest applies to most struggling species, which aim to make it April Fool’s Day every day in the animal world.