5… 4… 3… 2… 1…ready or not, here we come! Playing hide and seek is one of the great joys of childhood. For animals in the wild, though, playing hide and seek is more than a game. For many, it's a matter of life and death!
Prey animals often use camouflage to hide from predators. Camouflage is a way of hiding that allows an animal to blend in with its environment or otherwise go unnoticed by predators. Predators also sometimes use camouflage so as not to be detected by their prey.
Of course, as seasons change, some animals find that their winter coloring no longer helps conceal them in warmer weather.
As a result, some animals change coloration throughout the year to keep up with changing seasons. Environmental cues, such as the temperature or the amount of daylight, may trigger these changes. One example is the arctic fox, which is stark white in the winter and a grayish-brown in the summer.
Other animals have unique markings, such as spots, stripes, and patterns, that you might think would make them stand out too much. These special markings — called disruptive coloration — can actually help break up their outline, so that they don't stand out.
For example, the walking stick is an insect that looks so much like a branch that it can be nearly impossible to spot in the wild!
For example, the Viceroy butterfly mimics the look of the poisonous Monarch butterfly to avoid predators.