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Can You Spot These Incredibly Camouflaged Animals?

Evolution has gifted earth's animals with some pretty unbelievable abilities. These animals are some of the best in the world at utilizing one of evolution's sneakiest tricks: camouflage.

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1. Tawny Frogmouth

Via birdsinbackyards.net

The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is an owl-resembling species native to Australia. Frogmouths are commonly mistaken for owls due to their similar appearances. The Tawny Frogmouth is nocturnal, making its camouflage seem less useful, but these birds exploit their camouflage as a defense mechanism during the day. They keep very still, close their eyes, lengthen their neck, and compress their feathers. This allows them to appear like a broken branch on a tree. Although they may not be seen during the day, they often face danger while hunting at night. While hunting insects, they often are drawn to lighted areas that allow them to see insects easier. Unfortunately, headlights from vehicles often attract the bird and lead to its demise (listverse.com).

2. Leaf-tailed gecko

Via wired.com

Leaf-tailed geckos (Saltuarius cornutus) are found in Queensland, Australia. They closely resemble dried or rotten leaves, and can also camouflage themselves with tree bark. They use this camouflage to hide themselves from ring-tailed geckos which prey upon juvenile leaf-tailed geckos. There are not abundant in numbers and the distribution of the species is extremely small. If you have ever been to Queensland, you may have seen one of these guys and not even realized it. (http://www.iucnredlist.org).

3. Snow Leopard

Via animalsanimals.com

Believe it or not, there is a snow leopard pictured above. Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are found in the high mountains of central Asia between 750-5800 meters in elevation. They feed mainly upon the alpine ibex and blue sheep, two species which share distribution ranges with the snow leopard. Like many of the big cats, the camouflage of snow leopards enables them to stalk prey without being seen. Unfortunately, snow leopards are currently endangered due to lack of prey, illegal trade, and conflicts with humans (http://www.iucnredlist.org).

4. The Baron Caterpillar

Via mnn.com

The Baron Caterpillar (Euthalia aconthea) is found in India and Southeast Asia. When born they are very tiny (4 mm) and grow to be about 45 mm. The spikes on their bodies also grow longer. Their coloration and spikes allow them to camouflage themselves on the leaves of plants, hiding from predators until they reach maturity. They are often considered a pest because they feed upon mango trees like the one pictured above. Their camouflage may also help them avoid angry farmers (Mother Nature Network).

5. Stone Flounder

Via rantnow.com

The stone flounder (Kareius bicoloratus) is a flatfish that lives on sandy and muddy bottoms in coastal areas. They may inhabit salt water, brackish water, and fresh water, and can be found living up to 450 feet below sea surface. They feed on microscopic organisms that live on, in, or near the sea floor. The stone flounder can match its appearance with its environment using chromatophores, which are specialized skin cells containing pigments that can change appearance. For instance, when these fish swim near the water surface, they appear almost see-through (http://www.fishbase.org).

6. Willow Ptarmigan

Via pinterest.com

The Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) is a species of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, that is found primarily in the arctic tundra. It is the state bird of Alaska and inhabits a large range of habitat across northern latitudes. Willow grouse are mostly brown in the summer, but turn almost entirely white during the winter. They are herbivorous and feed on various plant materials. Their camouflage helps to hide them from predators as well as hunters. They are commonly hunted in nearly all areas of their distribution (http://www.iucnredlist.org).

7. Giraffe

Via nydailynews.com

The world's tallest mammal probably isn't the first animal that comes to mind when you think of stealthy creatures, but the coloration and shape of giraffes gives them a very effective camouflage. The light and dark spots on their fur allow them to blend in with the shadows and sunlight that shine on and through trees and branches. Giraffes utilize their camouflage to hide from predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas. Giraffes feed primarily on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. They are most commonly seen eating the leaves of acacia trees. Their tall stature allows them to feed on the upper portion of tree leaves that other browsers cannot reach (http://www.iucnredlist.org).

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