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Top 10 Animals With Amazing Camouflage

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Q.V. Hough These animals rely on camouflage to hide from predators and to sneak up on their prey, and the effects are mind-blowing! WatchMojo presents the top 10 animals with the most incredible camouflage techniques. But what animal will take the top spot on our list? Will it be the leaf tail gecko, the mimic octopus, or the chameleon? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to calvinator2012 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Animals+with+amazing+camouflage

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These creatures are some of nature’s sneakiest masters of disguise. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Animals with Amazing Camouflage.

For this list, we’re focusing on members of the Animal Kingdom that survive and thrive thanks to their ability to blend in with their surroundings.

#10: Owls

As arguably one of the sharpest predators on the planet, these birds of prey rely on camouflage both for protection from other creatures, but also to stay hidden from their targets. For example, the Easter Screech Owl’s feathers give it the eerie ability to blend into the bark of trees, making it nearly impossible to see. On the other end of the spectrum, the Snowy Owl has bright white plumage, allowing it to remain hidden against the backdrop of snow. Owls around the world have adapted to their environments to become incredible camouflaged hunters, with their feather patterns varying from location to location.

#9: Dead Leaf Butterfly [aka Kallima Inachus]

Also known as the Oakleaf, this butterfly actually has two different ways of camouflaging itself: with its wings open, it shows off an impressive array of colors as well as a pair of white oculi that look like they could be eyes – just in case it needs to scare of some predators. But with its wings closed, the butterfly bears an uncanny resemblance to – you guessed it – a dead leaf. Capable of fooling most would-be predators, not to mention inattentive humans, the Dead Leaf butterfly blends flawlessly into the forest environments of tropical Asia and Japan.

#8: Wobbegong Shark

Swimming in the waters around Indonesia and Australia, this tropical species dwells on the ocean floor. In fact, their tendency to hug the ground has earned them the nickname carpet sharks. Blending in with the seabed, wobbegongs await the perfect opportunity to snag passing fish, drawing prey in with their alluring tassels, which also help these odd sharks sense movement. Thanks to their coloring, they look like part of the scenery even as you draw close to them, meaning that the Wobbegong can wait until its prey is nearly on top of it before striking. This carpet-like camo makes them highly efficient hunters.

#7: Underwing Moth [aka Catocala]

The moth isn’t exactly what we’d call a standout insect. But when stationary, this variety fails to stand out in the best possible way – at least from a survival standpoint. No… they’re not exciting to look at, but the Underwing Moth – with its earthy brown and gray exterior set of wings – is easy to miss when at rest. Should a predator manage to identify them however, the Underwing will then reveal their second set of vibrant wings, which are sure to surprise and distract. Among the over 250 species of underwing moth, the hindwing coloring varies, but never fails to impress.

#6: Orchid Mantis [aka Hymenopus coronatus]

Here’s a tricky animal that survives through something called “aggressive mimicry.” You see, with its petal-like, heart-shaped legs; the Orchid Mantis looks almost exactly like a flower. Given the fact that many insects have pretty small brains, the pink and white coloring works to the Walking Flower Mantis’ advantage. While scientists have long believed that this allows them to hide among similarly colored flowers, recent research suggests otherwise: it’s possible the Orchid Mantis actually uses “sensory exploitation” to lure confused insects. In other words, this camouflaged creature doesn’t need a flower for cover; their coloring and behavior lure their prey regardless.

#5: Reef Stonefish [aka Synanceia verrucosa]

As THE most venomous fish on the planet, this animal causes plenty of problems underwater. But it’s their camouflage that Reef Stonefish rely on most; by blending in with coral and sand, they’re almost impossible to detect. What’s more, the Reef Stonefish can essentially inhale a passing fish instantly. But they just look like rocks, making them incredibly dangerous to humans, especially since the Reef Stonefish can survive on land for up to a full day. They have no problem finding food on the ocean floor, though, and have quite the defensive technique with the potent toxins found in their spines.

#4: Katydids [aka Bush Crickets]

It’s the Katydid’s mating call that earned them their common moniker, which is certainly easier to say than their scientific name, “Tettigoniidae.” When searching for food, these creatures prefer using patience and their leaf-like appearance to their advantage: they wait for their meals to come to them rather than pursuing their prey. Though some bugs use venom in tandem with their camouflage, a Katydid instead utilizes its spine to essentially trap or penetrate its prey. Agile, well disguised and equipped with the tools to hold its victim once it finds them; the katydid may be an unassuming predator, but it’s a formidable one nonetheless.

#3: Mimic Octopus [aka Thaumoctopus mimicus]

The abilities of the mimic octopus are almost otherworldly. As its name suggests, this animal is a true performance artist of the ocean. Mostly found near Indonesia, the Mimic Octopus wasn’t officially discovered until 1998 – which is a true testament to its camouflaging abilities. Not only do these animals impersonate others around them for protection and defensive purposes; they also change their physical form for aggressive hunting. They mystify researchers and have been recorded taking on the form and patterns of various sea-dwellers, making the Mimic Octopus one of the more clever camouflaged animals in existence.

#2: Chameleon

This is probably the most obvious selection on our list, as the word chameleon is now synonymous with the ability to change to suit one’s surroundings. But the chameleon doesn’t change colors just to protect itself; communication and climate come into play as well. For example, some chameleons take on a darker form for warmth, but then might very well change color to announce themselves to fellow chameleons. And if the chameleon is wearing a darker color, you’re probably safe because that means it feels defeated. But watch out if the chameleon has changed to a bright color; that might mean it’s feeling particularly aggressive.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Righteye Flounder [aka Pleuronectidae]
- Common Baron Caterpillar [aka Euthalia aconthea]
- Egyptian Nightjar [aka Caprimulgus aegyptius]

#1: Leaf-Tail Gecko [aka Uroplatus Phantasticus]

Native to Madagascar, this creature is known by many names, including the Baweng Satanic Leaf Gecko and eyelash leaf tailed gecko. And it’s got quite the reputation – with good reason, given its ability to adapt to its habitat. For this animal, camouflage means everything; it’s essential to its existence. But it’s more than just a good disguise: the Leaf-Tail Gecko can camouflage itself so well, you might not be able to see it even after it’s been pointed out to you. Creeping and crawling in the night, these nocturnal animals are as good at sneaking up on prey as they are at avoiding predators, because – to both – the Fantastic Leaf Tail Gecko looks like nothing more than a dead leaf.

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